freedom of the press?
Donald Trump has come under fire for denying press credentials to media organizations he finds unfair in their coverage of him, but a security guard at an event for his running mate Mike Pence took things to a whole new level Wednesday. Washington Post reporter Jose A. DelReal planned to cover Pence's first event since being named the Republican vice presidential candidate two weeks ago, but was turned down at the press check-in table because he works for one of Trump's blacklisted publications:
DelReal then tried to enter via the general-admission line, as Post reporters have done without incident since Trump last month banned the newspaper from his events. He was stopped there by a private security official who told him he couldn't enter the building with his laptop and cell phone. When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cell phones, he said the unidentified official replied, "Not if they work for The Washington Post." [The Washington Post]
When DelReal put his laptop and phone in his car and tried once again to enter through the general admission line, the same official stopped him and called over sheriff's deputies, who allegedly patted him down. When it was confirmed DelReal did not have a phone, the security person still would not let DelReal into the building.
"He said, 'I don't want you here. You have to go,'" DelReal said. When reached for comment, Pence press secretary Marc Lotter told the Post`, "Our events are open to everyone, and we are looking into the alleged incident."
But Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Post, said the incident adds a whole new level of concern for advocates of freedom of the press. "First, press credentials for The Washington Post were revoked by Donald Trump. Now, law enforcement officers, in collusion with private security officials, subjected a reporter to bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endure. All of this took place in a public facility no less," Baron said. "The harassment of an independent press isn't coming to an end. It's getting worse."