Martin Baron: ‘The Harassment of an Independent Press’ Is ‘Getting Worse’

A WaPo reporter trying to cover a Mike Pence rally is patted down and denied entry.

Photo credit: Ali Shaker/VOA

Photo credit: Ali Shaker/VOA
Photo credit: Ali Shaker/VOA
There are so many things that are wrong with what happened to Washington Post reporter Jose DelReal when he tried to attend Donald Trump vp pick Mike Pence‘s rally in Wisconsin. Let’s run through the list, from an account by WaPo’s Paul Farhi.

1. DelReal tried to get credentialed as a journalist for the event but couldn’t, because the Trump campaign had revoked the Post’s credentials in June.

2. The Washington Post was just one publication of many to enjoy a position, permanent or temporary, on the Trump media blacklist.

3. Once denied credentials, DelReal tried to enter through general admission, “as Post reporters have done without incident since Trump last month banned the newspaper from his events,” writes Farhi, and was told he couldn’t take his phone and laptop with him.

4. This, apparently, was a rule specific to The Washington Post: “When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cellphones, he said the unidentified official replied, ‘Not if they work for The Washington Post.'”

5. DelReal complied, stashing away the phone and laptop in his car, and tried to enter again, but the security officials wanted to make sure. This required them asking the assistance of two officers, sheriff’s deputies, to pat DelReal down in search of the phone he did not have on him.

6. After all that, DelReal was told by security that was not going to be let in. “I don’t want you here. You have to go,” was the reason provided, according to DelReal.

7. DelReal tried to get the security person’s name: denied.

8. DelReal asked to talk to a press rep: denied.

9. On the Pence team’s end, blame was passed off on to volunteers who “misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing”:

Officials from the Pence campaign initially said they were unaware of the Waukesha incident when asked for comment Wednesday night. But after a cursory investigation, one official, who declined to speak on the record, said that no members of the campaign’s staff were involved. He said volunteers went too far.

“It sounds like they misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing,” the official said. “This is not our policy.”

Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron issued his own statement (emphasis ours):

First, press credentials for The Washington Post were revoked by Donald Trump,” he said. “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. The harassment of an independent press isn’t coming to an end. It’s getting worse.