Alaskans who wanted to ask Russia president Vladimir Putin a few questions -- Does Sarah Palin bug him? Will he take Alaska back? Could he put Russia's LNG project on hold? -- won't get that chance.
Russia’s central TV station is pulling the plug on a project that could have brought questions from Alaskans -- except for Sarah Palin -- to Putin's virtual town hall on Thursday.
The Russian National Central Television Station had asked Dorene Lorenz, a local TV host for ABC Fox in Alaska, to work as a stringer and start filming Alaskans and their questions on Tuesday, Lorenz said. But on Wednesday, a producer with the station contacted Lorenz to cancel the project, saying they already had too much content.
Below is the original story published in the Dispatch on Wednesday:
Russia’s central TV station is apparently looking for a few good Alaskans to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin some questions for his annual call-in show on Thursday -- everybody but Sarah Palin, that is.
“From what I’ve seen (on the Tonight Show) she has Putin’s phone number, and she just can call him,” joked Dorene Lorenz, a local TV host for ABC Fox in Alaska.
In all seriousness, Lorenz said she recently started doing work for the Russian National Central Television Station.
She clarified that it's just part-time work, what those in the news media call "stringer work," and she hasn’t done much of it. “I’m not an employee, and I haven’t gotten a KGB badge lately,” she said with a laugh.
Lorenz delivered the goods recently after the Russian station contacted her station, looking for a story about the petition on the White House website to give Alaska back to Russia.
The show included interviews with Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. It went so well that the station called Lorenz back for more work.
Now it wants her to gather footage of Alaskans asking Putin questions for his annual Q-and-A session, a virtual town hall that can go for hours and which last year attracted a few million questions from around Russia.
Lorenz said she’s started tracking down bigwigs like Mayor Dan Sullivan, the state’s congressional delegation and the governor, to get their questions.
“They also wanted everyday Alaskans and some Russians,” Lorenz said. “I’ll be running around and getting interviews, and putting together a story to turn in.”
Lorenz is asking people to steer clear of questions about Ukraine and Crimea, since those will certainly be already covered. The station will direct questions to Putin’s press secretary for consideration and possible inclusion.
In what’s surely a coincidence, Gov. Sean Parnell Tuesday afternoon said he will hold his own virtual town hall. Parnell’s gig will be on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Questions can be submitted to AskAKGov(at)alaska.gov, or on the governor’s Facebook page, or by tweet using #AskAKGov.