The soap opera at the National Press Club is over. At least for now. Club member Sam Husseini, who was suspended last week after club officials found his behavior at a recent presser distasteful, learned over the holiday weekend that the Ethics Committee has ruled that he’s back in.
At the heart of the dispute was whether Husseini is really a journalist. Second to that, is he a nuisance? Depending who you talk to, he’s all of the above. He’s a blogger who writes www.washingtonstakeout.com and he’s Communications Director for the Institute for Public Accuracy. The club labels him a “communicator.” He’s also the guy who asks tough, speechified questions at press conferences, sometimes to the point of angering guests and club officials. Young members are siding with him — a move NPC Executive Director William McCarren argues is largely political with club elections coming up.
Husseini seems relieved. He promises to forge ahead with even harder questions, and posted the following statement on his personal blog this morning at dawn:
“I’ve been informed by the chair of the Ethics Committee that my suspension at the National Press Club has been lifted. I welcome this decision and aim to ask ever tougher and sharper questions. I hope others will as well. I had asked the Saudi ambassador about the legitimacy of his regime, but if tough questions are not welcome at the Press Club, or at other media institutions, then their legitimacy is also undermined. I particularly welcome this decision as it allows me to attend the debate for the Press Club presidency this [Monday] evening. It’s a rare contested election — with the Let’s Press Ahead slate having issued a strong statement on my behalf. I hope it will mark a meaningful step forward.”
FWIW: Friends of FishbowlDC ate Thanksgiving with Husseini at the Emergence Community Arts Collective and found him pleasant and peaceful. He discussed the situation with the NPC during the meal.
See his recent interview with Russia TV here.