Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has waged a war against the media that has gone far beyond the bounds of normal media criticism. Trump has pushed a plan to “open up our libel laws” that's been criticized by First Amendment advocates, threatened to retaliate against media outlets with the power of government agencies, issued scathing personal insults against journalists, and repeatedly sued or threatened to sue media figures over trivialities. Trump’s campaign also heavily restricts reporters’ access to events, and his campaign manager allegedly manhandled a reporter and reportedly made “sexual comments” and “unwanted romantic advances” to female reporters.
Trump: “I'm Going To Open Up Our Libel Laws” To Combat “Purposely Negative And Horrible And False Articles.” Politico wrote of Trump in February:
During a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, Trump began his usual tirade against newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, saying they're “losing money” and are “dishonest.” The Republican presidential candidate then took a different turn, suggesting that when he's president they'll “have problems.”
“One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected,” Trump said.
Under current law, largely determined at the state instead of federal level, public persons, such as politicians, can win a suit against a media organization only if the person can prove that the publication published information with actual malice, knowing it to be wholly incorrect, as well as in cases of reckless disregard. The case that set this precedent — New York Times Co. v. Sullivan — was decided by the Supreme Court in 1964.
“You see, with me, they're not protected, because I'm not like other people but I'm not taking money. I'm not taking their money,” Trump said on Friday. “We're going to open up libel laws, and we're going to have people sue you like you've never got sued before.” [Politico, 2/26/16]
Trump: “I Would Absolutely Work To Open Up The Libel Laws.” Trump affirmed he would work to “open up” libel laws as president in an interview with Fox News Sunday:
CHRIS WALLACE: Is that really the kind of president you will be, if you don't like an article you're going to sue a newspaper or a network and tie them up in litigation? And, by the way, the Supreme Court ruled on this to open up the libel laws to make it easier to sue us, for instance, you're going to have to win them the Constitution.
DONALD TRUMP: Well, in England, I can tell you it's very much different and very much easier. I think it's very unfair when The New York Times can write a story that they know is false, that they virtually told me they know it's false and I say, why don't you pull the story, and they say, we're not going to do that, because they can't basically be sued. And you can't be sued because can you say anything you want and that's not fair.
All I want is fairness. So, I would absolutely work to open up the libel laws so that if you write something wrong, I want everybody to write whatever they want to write. But if you write something that’s wrong and at least knowingly wrong but wrong, a person like me and other people can bring lawsuits to have it corrected and to get damage. [Fox Broadcast Co., Fox News Sunday, 2/28/16]
Trump Tweet: “The Libel Laws In This Country Suck!” [Twitter.com, 5/24/13]
Associated Press: “First Amendment Advocates Condemned Trump’s Suggestions.” The Associated Press reported on the response to Trump’s statements from First Amendment advocates:
First Amendment advocates condemned Trump’s suggestions.
“His statement shows why we need libel protections,” said Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Washington-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Trump gets offended, he gets upset and he wants to sue to retaliate. That’s not a good reason to sue someone.” [The Associated Press, 2/27/16]
First Amendment Lawyer Floyd Abrams: Trump “Simply Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About” Regarding Libel Laws. Fortune writer Mathew Ingram wrote following Trump’s libel law remarks:
For one thing, there is no federal libel law for Trump to “open up.” Libel is something that is regulated at the state level, which means that to change it, the president would have to either convince all of the states to change the way they handle libel prosecution or pass a new federal law specifically governing libel. And if he were to try and do that, Trump would run into a very large obstacle known as the First Amendment.
After Trump made his comments, an opinion writer at the New York Daily News reached out to Floyd Abrams, an attorney who is an expert in constitutional law, about the likelihood of this promise coming true. And Abrams confirmed that there is little chance. “There is no federal libel law for Trump to amend or change, and thus no role for the President at all,” Abrams said. “Fifty states have their own libel laws; the federal government has none.”
The only federal law that governs libel, Abrams said, is the First Amendment. “So when Trump says he wants to ‘open up’ libel law, he really means (if he has the slightest knowledge of the law) that he wants to open up—to change—the First Amendment, which, beginning in 1964, has been held to require in cases brought by public figures, proof that what was said was false, and that the newspaper knew or suspected that it was false. In short, he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” [Fortune, 2/29/16]
Libel Law Expert: Laws Are “Very Well-Settled, Signed Onto By Liberal And Conservative Justices.” NPR reported of Trump’s libel law plan:
BRIAN NAYLOR (NPR correspondent): Impotent, perhaps, from the view of someone who feels maligned, but quite the opposite for journalists. In 1964, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a public figure has to prove an offending statement was made with actual malice - that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. Bruce Sanford is a Washington libel lawyer.
BRUCE SANFORD: They have to prove that at the time of publication, the reporter, the newspaper, the broadcaster knew that they were making a mistake or were reckless in making that mistake. That's a very tough standard, and most public officials can't - don't have a prayer of proving that.
NAYLOR: Sanford says libel law is very well-settled, signed onto by liberal and conservative justices. He says to change it, a president would have to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would be willing to overturn years of precedence - or take a different approach.
SANFORD: If you don't like speech, the answer is not to censor that speech or to try to silence it. What our traditions call for is more speech. [NPR, All Things Considered, 3/24/16]
Trump Threatened Retribution Against Washington Post Owner Jeff Bezos. New York writer Jonathan Chait noted that Trump responded to Washington Post “investigations into his life by casually threatening retribution against its owner, Jeff Bezos” and then quoted Trump stating:
It’s interesting that you say that, because every hour we’re getting calls from reporters from the Washington Post asking ridiculous questions. And I will tell you. This is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos, who controls Amazon. Amazon is getting away with murder, tax-wise. He’s using the Washington Post for power. So that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed. He’s getting absolutely away — he’s worried about me, and I think he said that to somebody ... it was in some article, where he thinks I would go after him for antitrust. Because he’s got a huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much. Amazon is controlling so much of what they’re doing.
And what they’ve done is he bought this paper for practically nothing. And he’s using that as a tool for political power against me and against other people. And I’ll tell you what: We can’t let him get away with it. So he’s got about 20, 25 — I just heard they’re taking these really bad stories — I mean, they, you know, wrong, I wouldn’t even say bad. They’re wrong. And in many cases they have no proper information. And they’re putting them together, they’re slopping them together. And they’re gonna do a book. And the book is gonna be all false stuff because the stories are so wrong. And the reporters — I mean, one after another — so what they’re doing is he’s using that as a political instrument to try and stop antitrust, which he thinks I believe he’s antitrust, in other words, what he’s got is a monopoly. And he wants to make sure I don’t get in. So, it’s one of those things. But I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. What he’s doing’s wrong. And the people are being — the whole system is rigged. You see a case like that. The whole system is rigged. Whether it’s Hillary or whether it’s Bezos. [New York, 5/13/16]
Trump Said Federal Communications Commission Should Fine Fox News Pundit For Anti-Trump Outburst. In September, Fox News contributor Rich Lowry said that then-Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina “cut [Trump’s] balls off with the precision of a surgeon” at the CNN debate. Trump responded by saying, Lowry “should not be allowed on TV and the FCC should fine him!” However, the FCC does not issue fines for content on cable networks. [Mediaite, 9/23/15]
Roger Stone: “When Donald Trump Is President, He Should Turn Off” CNN's “FCC License.” Stone, a top Trump friend and ally who previously worked for the campaign, said that “when Donald Trump is president, he should turn off” CNN's “FCC license” because the news network is purportedly in the tank for Hillary Clinton. Stone later tweeted that “Actually I now recall the FCC does not regulate cable but larger point about #CNN bias stands.” [Media Matters, 5/9/16; XM Patriot, Breitbart News Saturday, 5/14/16; Twitter.com, 5/14/16]
Trump Wondered If He Could “Press Charges” Against Reporter Michelle Fields. Trump tweeted of Fields, who was manhandled by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski: “Why is she allowed to grab me and shout questions? Can I press charges?” [The Hill, 3/29/16]
How Reporters Covering Trump’s Campaign Are Treated: Pens, Alleged Battery, “Unwanted Romantic Advances”
Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski Allegedly Manhandled Reporter Michelle Fields. Lewandowski allegedly manhandled Fields and left her bruised during a March campaign event in Florida that was caught on video. Police charged him with a single count of misdemeanor battery, and the Palm Beach County state attorney subsequently decided not to prosecute. The attorney said: “While the evidence in this case is legally sufficient for the police to charge Mr. Lewandowski, it is not strong enough to meet the burden of a reasonable likelihood of a conviction.” Trump repeatedly defended his campaign manager, who continues to work for the campaign. [The New York Times, 4/14/16; Today.com, 3/30/16]
BuzzFeed: Lewandowski Made “Unwanted Romantic Advances” And “Sexual Comments About Female Journalists.” BuzzFeed reported of Lewandowski and the way he treats reporters:
As Donald Trump faces questions about his campaign manager’s physical altercation with a protester over the weekend, BuzzFeed News has learned new details about the hard-charging operative’s behavior that raise questions about his judgment and the environment inside the Trump campaign.
In recent interviews with more than half a dozen sources who have worked with Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, the strategist was accused of pushing a CNN reporter who tried to ask the candidate a question; physically confronting an aide for a rival campaign in a post-debate spin room; publicly shouting threats over the phone at a restaurant; making sexual comments about female journalists; and calling up women in the campaign press corps late at night to make unwanted romantic advances.
Asked Monday for comment on these allegations, Lewandowski emailed, “Your story is factually inaccurate.” When BuzzFeed news asked him to clarify which portions of the story he was challenging, he wrote, “Be sure before you accuse me of something it’s accurate. And, in these instances you are wrong.” [BuzzFeed, 3/21/16]
Politico: Reporters Said Lewandowski “Has Made Sexually Suggestive And At Times Vulgar Comments To -- And About -- Female Journalists.” Politico reported in March of Trump’s campaign manager:
Additionally, reporters told POLITICO that Lewandowski has made sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to ― and about ― female journalists who have covered Trump’s presidential bid. One reporter who was on the receiving end of such comments described them as “completely inappropriate in a professional setting.” [Politico, 3/15/16]
Trump Requires “Stringent Terms” For Covering Rallies, Including A Press Pen. New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg wrote in March of Trump’s restrictive access for reporters:
And then, there are the stringent terms the Trump campaign set back in November for how the five major television networks could cover his rallies, guidelines that still stand (and that I learned about in detail last week). The TV personnel are to enter their designated pens 15 minutes before he speaks and stay there until he is done. Then, they can roam the crowd but they cannot freely approach the “rope line” where Mr. Trump shakes hands and chitchats with his supporters, saying who knows what. The campaign cited safety and the candidate’s desire to connect with his voters without cameras intruding.
Still, I was surprised that network executives agreed to go along with such constrictive terms, which do not apply to Clinton and Sanders rallies. In interviews, executives said it was the price of admission for their cameras, correspondents and crews, but they would keep arguing for fewer restrictions. “This is an ongoing process,” Chris Isham, the CBS News Washington bureau chief, told me. “We’re continuing to push on a number of different fronts.” [The New York Times, 3/27/16]
NBC Reporter In November: “Trump Campaign Now Requiring Media To Have Bathroom Escorts At His Rallies When Leaving 'The Pen.'" [The Hill, 11/25/15]
Vice Reporter: “Uncomfortable Encounters With Trump's Security And Campaign Staff Are A Routine Hazard Of The Job.” Vice News reporter Olivia Becker wrote in February after a violent encounter between a news photographer and the Secret Service at a Trump event:
The incident was shocking for many people — but it wasn't a surprise if you've attended enough of his campaign rallies as a member of the press. After going to Trump events on the campaign trail in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, I've learned to accept that uncomfortable encounters with Trump's security and campaign staff are a routine hazard of the job. Trump is the only presidential candidate whose rallies feature a specific area in the back where journalists are corralled and not permitted to leave. Other candidates have areas designated for the media, but reporters are free to mingle in the crowd to interview people. Leaving the press pen at a Trump rally comes with its own risk, as today's altercation demonstrated.
I repeatedly saw members of Trump's communications team stalking the perimeter of his events on the lookout for any reporters with cameras or microphones. At a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, one of his aides forced multiple reporters with cameras back to the press pen, then stood behind reporters as they interviewed people. The incident on Monday came a day after Trump said he wants to weaken libel laws to make it easier to sue media outlets for negative coverage. [Vice.com, 2/29/16]
Trump Declined To Condemn Anti-Semitic Death Threats Against Reporter. GQ reporter Julia Ioffe received anti-Semitic death threats after she wrote a profile of Melania Trump. When asked by CNN if he would condemn those threats, Trump declined, stating, “I don’t have a message to the fans. A woman wrote a article that was inaccurate.” Trump’s response emboldened his racist followers, with the neo-Nazi website that helped start the attacks writing “Hail Victory, Comrades!” [Talking Points Memo, 5/5/16; Media Matters, 5/6/16]
Trump: Fox Host Megyn Kelly Had “Blood Coming Out Of Her Wherever" During GOP Debate. [Media Matters, 8/25/15]
Trump Retweeted A Comment Calling Kelly A “Bimbo.” He also tweeted, “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter!” [Talking Points Memo, 1/27/16]
Trump Ridiculed The Physical Disability Of A New York Times Reporter Who Debunked A False Claim By Trump. [Media Matters, 11/25/15]
Trump On The Press: “They're Scum. They're Horrible People. They Are So Illegitimate. … Some Of The People In The Press Are Honorable. But You’ve Got 50% Who Are Terrible People.’’ [USA Today, 3/10/16]
Trump On Journalists: “I Would Never Kill Them, But I Do Hate Them. And Some Of Them Are Such Lying, Disgusting People. It's True." [USA Today, 3/10/16]
Trump Lawyer Threatened To Sue New York Times Over Story. Trump Organization assistant general counsel Jill Martin said on CNN that suing The New York Times over its story about Trump’s interaction with women was “a distinct possibility.” A Trump representative later said “I don't think that this is going to end up in litigation” but still demanded a retraction from the paper. [CNN.com, 5/17/16, Politico, 5/17/16]
Trump Lawyer Threatened To Sue Daily Beast: “Tread Very Fucking Lightly.” The Daily Beast published a July 2015 piece reporting that “Ivana Trump once accused the real-estate tycoon of ‘rape,’ although she later clarified: not in the ‘criminal sense.’” Trump lawyer Michael Cohen threatened to sue the publication over the story:
Trump’s lawyer then changed tactics, lobbing insults and threatening a lawsuit if a story was published.
“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen said. “So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”
“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up… for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet… you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it,” he added. [The Daily Beast, 7/27/15]
Trump Sued Reporter Because He Questioned Trump’s Net Worth. Trump sued reporter Timothy L. O'Brien for $5 billion because he claimed O’Brien’s book “libeled him because it expressed some skepticism about his wealth.” O’Brien recounted in 2015:
Donald cooperated with the project, and I spent time on his plane, in his cars, at his homes, in his office, and out and about, absorbing some valuable business lessons. After the book came out, I didn’t hear from Donald for a few months. Then, in early 2006, he sued me for $5 billion (half of my net worth!), claiming that the book libeled him because it expressed some skepticism about his wealth.
When the net worth confusion appeared in my book, Donald sued, saying that low-balling his riches had damaged his reputation. My attorneys proceeded to get Donald’s tax, bank and property records. We stood our ground, and the suit was dismissed in 2009. Donald appealed, and in 2011 an appellate court affirmed the earlier ruling. [Bloomberg View, 7/2/15]
Trump Threatened To Sue Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter Over Mob Story. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston wrote that Trump told him he would sue if he didn't “like what you write” about his connections to the mob. From a Politico story:
Why did Trump get his casino license anyway? Why didn’t investigators look any harder? And how deep did his connections to criminals really go?
These questions ate at me as I wrote about Atlantic City for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and then went more deeply into the issues in a book, Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business. In all, I’ve covered Donald Trump off and on for 27 years, and in that time I’ve encountered multiple threads linking Trump to organized crime. Some of Trump’s unsavory connections have been followed by investigators and substantiated in court; some haven’t. And some of those links have continued until recent years, though when confronted with evidence of such associations, Trump has often claimed a faulty memory. In an April 27 phone call to respond to my questions for this story, Trump told me he did not recall many of the events recounted in this article and they “were a long time ago.” He also said that I had “sometimes been fair, sometimes not” in writing about him, adding “if I don’t like what you write, I’ll sue you.” [Politico, 5/11/16]
Trump Sued Bill Maher Over Joke. The Daily Beast summarized a 2013 lawsuit filed by Trump against comedian and producer Bill Maher:
In 2013, after Trump said he would donate $5 million to charity if President Obama would release all of his personal documents to the public, Bill Maher appeared on The Tonight Show and joked that he would give Trump $5 million if he could prove that his father was not an orangutan. Trump sent Maher a copy of his birth certificate. When Maher didn’t pay up, Trump sued him for the $5 million. He eventually dropped it. [The Daily Beast, 7/6/15]
Trump Threatened To Sue Rosie O’Donnell. The Daily Beast wrote about Trump’s legal threats against former View co-host Rosie O’Donnell:
In 2006, Trump threatened to sue Rosie O’Donnell, then a co-host on The View, after she said he was bankrupt. Trump retaliated in an interview with The Insider, by labeling O’Donnell “disgusting, both inside and out.” He told People “Rosie will rue the words she said. I’ll most likely sue her for making those false statements—and it’ll be fun. Rosie’s a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.” He never sued, and ultimately, they seemed to make peace. In 2012, after O’Donnell suffered a heart attack, Trump Tweeted to tell her to “get better fast. I’m starting to miss you!” She replied, “well thank you donald—i must admit ur post was a bit of a shock … r u trying to kill me ? xx” [The Daily Beast, 7/6/15]
Trump Threatened To Sue ABC Over TV Movie. The Washington Post reported of Trump’s threats in 2005 about an ABC TV movie:
ABC says its movie will be based on Gwenda Blair's book “The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire.”
“In an interview with 'Access Hollywood's' Billy Bush, Donald Trump says he 'will definitely' sue ABC if he feels there are inaccuracies in the two-hour biopic the network plans on airing about him,” the news release stated. The interview was to air last night on the show, which is produced by NBC and syndicated by NBC Universal.
“Trump says he will take legal action if he feels the ABC biopic about his life casts him in a false light,” the announcement continued. " 'I will definitely,' he says. 'But as long as it's accurate, I won't be suing them.' " [The Washington Post, 2/10/05]
Trump Sued Chicago Tribune And Its Architecture Critic Over Building Criticism. The Chicago Tribune wrote of Trump’s lawsuit:
Trump sued the Chicago Tribune and its architecture critic Paul Gapp for $500 million in 1984 after Gapp called Trump's plan to build the world's tallest building in Manhattan “one of the silliest things anyone could inflict on New York or any other city.” The suit was dismissed. [Chicago Tribune, 9/25/15]
BuzzFeed: “Before Author Robert Slater Had Even Begun His Biography Of Donald Trump, He Says The Real Estate Mogul Had Threatened To Sue Him.” BuzzFeed reported of the late author Robert Slater:
Slater, who died in 2014, said Trump’s lawyer said they would stop him from publishing his book through legal action if he continued to research it.
“‘We are not cooperating with this book. Let’s be very clear about that.’ Then the letter went on, ‘If you continue to do research on this book,’ the exact wording was, ‘we may try to enjoin you from publishing that book.’”
Eventually, Slater said, his publisher stood behind him and he went ahead with the book. Trump would end up giving Slater full access to him for the book, even requesting, and Slater agreeing to, take out unflattering details about his divorce from Marla Maples. [BuzzFeed, 5/23/16]
Trump Threatened To Sue MSNBC Host Lawrence O’Donnell For Making “Many False Statements Last Night About Me.” [Twitter.com, 10/26/11]
Trump Suggested He Wanted To Sue Rolling Stone And Huffington Post To “Put Them Out Of Business!”
Trump Campaign Revoked Washington Post’s Press Credentials. Trump stated in a June 13 Facebook post that “Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post.” The campaign was apparently responding to a Post article highlighting comments Trump made suggesting President Obama “was complicit in” the deadly terror attack on an Orlando gay nightclub. [Media Matters, 6/13/16]
Campaign Denied Politico Entry To Press Conference. Politico reported: “POLITICO reporter Ben Schreckinger was denied entry to Donald Trump's press conference on Tuesday night, despite having previously been granted credentials by the campaign. The move followed a threat last week from Trump officials to exclude POLITICO reporters from campaign events.” [Politico, 3/15/16]
Campaign Banned Des Moines Register From Event After Critical Editorial. [The Des Moines Register, 7/24/15]
Campaign Ejected New York Times Reporter From Event. Times reporter Trip Gabriel wrote in January:
Barely a minute later, I was ejected from the restaurant by a Trump staff member and a local police officer.
“It’s a private event, you have to go,’’ the officer said, even though the 20 or so other journalists continued to cover the event.
A Trump campaign aide walking beside the officer said I was being excluded on orders from “Chuck and Stephanie,’’ an apparent reference to Mr. Trump’s Iowa state director, Chuck Laudner, and his wife, Stephanie, also a staff member. [The New York Times, 1/15/16]
Campaign Barred BuzzFeed From Iowa Event. [Mediaite, 11/19/15]
Campaign Has Barred Huffington Post From Its Events. The Huffington Post is strongly critical of Trump and adds a disclaimer to articles noting that he is a “serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, birther and bully.” [Mother Jones, 3/16/16; Politico, 1/28/16]
National Review Said It Can’t Get On Media List For Trump Events. The conservative magazine had previously released a special issue devoted to stopping Trump. [Mother Jones, 3/16/16]
Mother Jones Reporter Patrick Caldwell: “I Have Regularly Been Turned Away From Trump Events.” [Mother Jones, 3/16/16]
Campaign Shut Out Daily Beast Reporter Olivia Nuzzi, “Cutting Her From Its Press Email List And Turning Down Her Credentials Requests Without Any Explanation.” Trump has regularly clashed with The Daily Beast. [Mother Jones, 3/16/16]
Campaign Revoked Fusion’s Media Credentials For Miami Rally. Fusion reported that “Reporters from Fusion were denied entry to a Donald Trump campaign rally in Doral, Florida Friday evening due to—in the words of a top campaign staffer— Mr. Trump’s pending lawsuit against Univision. Fusion is jointly owned by Univision and Disney/ABC.” [Fusion, 10/24/15]
Campaign Repeatedly Denied Press Credentials To Univision. CNN reported that a “Trump spokeswoman reiterated the campaign's view that until the candidate's $500 million lawsuit against Univision is resolved, granting credentials to the network's reporters amounts to a ‘conflict of interest.’” Trump himself ejected anchor Jorge Ramos from an August 2015 campaign event, and then eventually let him back in. [CNN.com, 11/5/15]
Lewandowski: Tell CNN Reporter To “Get Back In The Pen Or He's Fucking Blacklisted.” The Washington Post reported of one incident in November:
After CNN reporter Noah Gray left “the pen” to document a group of protesters who unveiled a sign reading “Migrant lives matter,” Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski turned to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and said: “Hey: Tell Noah, get back in the pen or he's f------ blacklisted,” according to a recording of the incident.
As Gray went into the crowd to film reaction to the sign, which had already been taken down, Lewandowski confronted him directly: “Inside the pen, or I will pull your credentials. Media goes in the pen.” Lewandowski at first said the order was because of security, but then said: “I'm telling you. I'm telling you. Media stays in the pen.” [The Washington Post, 11/18/15]
Trump Staffer And Security Booted Politico From California Event. The Associated Press reported that Politico’s Ben Schreckinger was removed from Trump’s June 2 San Jose rally after entering the event using a general admission ticket following the campaign’s refusal to issue him press credentials. [The Associated Press, 6/3/16]
BuzzFeed Reporter Barred From June Trump Event. John Stanton, BuzzFeed’s D.C. bureau chief, wrote on Twitter that he was banned from attending a June 7 Trump speech. According to Stanton, “I've been a reporter for almost 20 years, and I've never been barred from attending a press conference until tonight.” [Media Matters, 6/8/16]
While Blocking Real Media Outlets, Trump Campaign Gave Credentials To A White Nationalist Radio Host. The Trump campaign gave credentials to white nationalist radio host James Edwards, host of The Political Cesspool, for a February rally. Edwards subsequently interviewed Donald Trump Jr. While the Trump campaign claimed no knowledge of Edwards’ racist views, Edwards’ syndicator said that a representative for Trump Jr. “absolutely invited James to do the interview.” [Media Matters, 3/3/16]
*This piece has been updated with additional content.