Pompeo And Trump: Censure Of The Press As A Form Of Retaliation – Forbes

The State Department has withdrawn an NPR correspondent's press corps attendance as a form of ... [+] retaliation.

The U.S. Department of State has blocked NPRs diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kelemen, from covering Secretary of State Mike Pompeos trip to Europe and Central Asia, including Ukraine. This follows Pompeos reportedly cursing and yelling at NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly after she questioned him about Ukraine and his treatment towards former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

NPR has asked the State Department for its reasoning behind blocking press credentials to Kelemen. As of 3:27 pm on January 24th, 2020, Kelemen had been scheduled to attend and had received information from the State Department about hotels for the trip. Kellys interview with Pompeo was aired on NPR that day at 5:06 pm. On January 25, 2020, Pompeo released an official statement criticizing Kelly, including wording that she was shameful, and that she had lied to him. On January 26, 2020, Kelemen was informed that she was no longer welcome on the trip.

President Trump publicly stated support of Pompeos treatment of Kelly during a press conference. He said, That was very impressive. That reporter couldnt have done too good a job on you yesterday. I think you did a good job on her, actually.

Why should all of this be very concerning to you, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum? It is a blatant show of vengeance towards the press behavior which should be beneath the State Department. In addition, this censorship has been condoned by the White House. When the free press is blocked from participating in official government activity, it is a slippery slope towards full censorship of any journalist that criticizes the federal government.

This is by far not the first time that Trumps administration has engaged in retaliatory behavior towards a reporter and his or her media organization. In November 2018, the White House suspended the press pass of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. This was not a one-time block; his hard pass was revoked, which meant he was not even allowed on the White House grounds. He was not informed about his pass being revoked until he arrived at the White House one hour prior to filming a segment.

In May 2019, the Columbia Journalism Review reported that the White House had revoked the press passes of a significant chunk of the Washington press corps because they didnt meet a new standard. This new standard required that journalists had to be in the White House for at least 90 days out of a period of 180 days. This is an impossibly high standard to reach, created by design. All seven of The Washington Post White House correspondents didnt qualify for a pass under this new rule. The White House then decided who qualified for an exception to this rule. Dana Milbank, a journalist for The Washington Post who held a White House press pass for 21 years, received an email that his press pass had been revoked. He was also denied an exception.

No one should be surprised by this censorship from the White House. In November 2018, President Trump threatened to revoke press passes of other reporters. He singled out journalist April Ryan of American Urban Networks, saying, Shes very nasty, and she shouldnt be. Ryan tweeted in response, I love this country and have the most respect for the Office of the President. I will continue to ask the questions that affect America, all of America. Ryan was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, and has covered the White House since 1997.

We need to be mindful of the impact that press censorship by the White House and State Department has on some of the publics perception of the free press. After an article regarding Kellys interview of Pompeo, this contributor received an email stating, The press and their water carriers are scum. No 1st Amendment rights will be harmed if the press is destroyed... When the President of the United States endorses censorship of the press that questions him, refers to legitimate news organizations and reporters as fake news, supports the State Departments censorship of a reporter with no just cause, and tweets a GIF of himself beating someone with a superimposed CNN logo on his head with the hashtag #FraudNewsCNN, our response should be one of alarm. When members of the free press are not allowed to report freely, every citizens right to express an opinion is at stake.

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Pompeo And Trump: Censure Of The Press As A Form Of Retaliation - Forbes

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