Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer spends a lot of time criticizing the media on his conservative talk-radio show.

Emmer at the State Fair

Emmer at the State Fair


But earlier this month, the former legislator eagerly joined the ranks of the working press to get out of paying admission at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council annual meeting.

Emmer said Thursday he went down to the conference in New Orleans intending to pay the admission price, which ranges from $295 to $695 depending on affiliation.

Then he walked over to the table where journalists are credentialed and had an idea. He said he told them he was a radio show host for a station owned by Clear Channel Communications and asked if that qualified him for a press credential.

At first, he said, the people at the registration booth were skeptical. Emmer then said another attendee came up and said they listened to his show and loved it.

With that, Emmer said he was given media access.

“I wore a press credential the entire time,” Emmer said, noting the press pass had pink on it. “So I was a member of the pinko press.”

Emmer was so proud of his hew status that he showed his press credential to other Minnesotans attending the group, including former state Rep. Laura Brod.

“I told her, I never thought I’d be doing this,” he said, reflecting on having press credentials at a conservative event.