THIN SKIN AWARD
I’m thinking about giving an award this year to the politician/public official/public figure with the thinnest skin. The criteria for the award will be an inability to handle criticism, and an overreaction of some sort. An early contender for this year’s award is Indiana Attorney General Theodore Edward Rokita, who for some inexplicable reason, goes by the first name of Todd.
In any event, Mr. Rokita, apparently had his thin skin irritated by a reporter/columnist/college professor/attorney named Abdul-Hakim Shabazz. Mr. Shabazz is a busy man. He is a member of the Indiana bar in good standing and serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Indianapolis. He has covered and written about Indiana politics and the goings on at the Indiana Statehouse for Indianapolis radio stations WXNT and WIBC and Indianapolis television stations WRTV, WISH, and Fox 59. He has written for the Indianapolis Business Journal, Indianapolis Star, the StatehouseFile.Com, and NUVO. At the current time Mr. Shabazz hosts a two-hour program, Abdul at Large, each Saturday on WIBC, 93.1 FM. He has been, and remains, a frequent contributor to Fox 59’s IN Focus and WISH TV’s All Indiana Politics. He remains a regular contributor to the Indianapolis Business Journal. Additionally, Mr. Shabazz is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org, a political news website that focuses on Indiana and Indianapolis politics. He has owned and operated this site for 12 years. Mr. Shabazz currently hosts Indiana Issues, a radio public affairs program that runs across the state of Indiana. It was formerly called Politically Speaking.
Hard to deny he’s not a journalist. And indeed, he obtained media credentials from the Indiana Department of Administration. But that was apparently not good enough for Mr. Rokita. According to Mr. Rokita, Mr. Shabazz is a “liberal media figure” and, worse yet, a “liberal college professor.”
At a press conference to announce a suit Mr. Rokita was filing to challenge robocalls to Indiana citizens, Mr. Rokita’s staff barred Mr. Shabazz from entering. In a press release, Mr. Rokita’s office claimed it was justified in keeping Mr. Shabazz out because he is “not an actual journalist and was merely a gossip columnist.”
Mr. Shabazz filed a law suit seeking injunctive relief to prevent Mr. Rokita from keeping Mr. Shabazz out of future press conferences. I like his chances. And I like Mr. Rokita’s chances in the Thin Skin contest.