Republican Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land refused to meet with the Detroit Free Press editorial board Wednesday, accusing the newspaper of sexism. The newspaper, in turn, said that Land was “blackmailing the paper.” Land then called for the newspaper to apologize.
Land was scheduled to appear at an endorsement meeting with the Free Press editorial board Wednesday. Then, an Oct. 4 column in the newspaper said the candidate was unapproachable, much like “a music video diva recovering from plastic surgery.” Land, who recently held a conference call with Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte about the alleged sexism that has been thrown at her in the campaign, canceled the meeting.
“You will never see us acquiesce to this sort of blackmailing in the way to try and condition an endorsement interview on some sort of effort on our part — that’s just not how we do things,” Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson told the mainstream publication Politico. “I have never seen a campaign condition an endorsement interview on an apology for a column before. I’m beyond puzzled, mystified would be the right word.”
The Land campaign fired back in a statement provided to The Daily Caller.
“Rather than admit they’ve demeaned a woman and apologize, the Detroit Free Press has doubled down,” said Land spokeswoman Heather Swift. “They should stop gaslighting a woman, and own up to what they did. One more thing: We’re not ducking editorial boards—we’re meeting with every major paper in the state. The Detroit Free Press Editorial Board should stop acting like they are in an episode of Mad Men, and apologize.”
Swift then told TheDC that “it’s clear the editors of Detroit Free Press are more concerned with the business of making news than reporting news” and that Land “recently met with Detroit News, MLive, Michigan Public Radio, and will meet with more before election day, she just won’t meet with the editorial boards that endorse sexist attacks.”
Among the multiple cultural references in the Land campaign’s statement, Swift accuses the newspaper of “gaslighting” Terri Lynn Land, a reference to George Cukor’s 1944 classic “Gaslight” in which Charles Boyer psychologically tortures Ingrid Bergman.