As pressure over his scandals builds, Scott Pruitt blacklists reporters from EPA announcement
Update: CNN reports:
But most reporters who cover the agency weren't in the room, and cameras were nearly non-existent. EPA had previously planned to hold Pruitt's appearance Tuesday at a Chevrolet dealer in Chantilly, Virginia, just outside of Washington, Geoffrey Pohanka with Pohanka Chevrolet told CNN. But the event was canceled, Pohanka said.
The event was subsequently moved to EPA headquarters, but with limited press access. A CNN journalist in the building was not allowed into the room for the event. EPA had attempted to allow television camera access to Fox News without informing the other four networks: CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS. Fox alerted the networks and a pool was established allowing networks equal access to the event.
Reporters from Politico, Buzzfeed, and other outlets noted that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt barred them from his April 3 announcement about loosening automobile fuel economy standards. Pruitt is currently under fire for a slew of scandals and seemingly corrupt activities, including a sweetheart deal he got to rent a D.C. condo from the wife of an energy lobbyist.
At least some reporters were allowed in, but EPA ignored multiple requests from Politico to attend this announcement. https://t.co/gZxeR3Gs1b
— Alex Guillén (@alexcguillen) April 3, 2018
Looks like a couple of reporters are there. I was not invited; watching the webcast instead https://t.co/3hZqR7y05z
— Timothy Cama (@Timothy_Cama) April 3, 2018
EPA announces 10:30 am event on its car decision in a 10:33 am tweet. Also, I did not get a press release about this event. https://t.co/eF9k70GwYy
— Zahra Hirji (@Zhirji28) April 3, 2018
I wasn't invited either. Fun stuff.
— Joshua Adam Siegel (@SiegelScribe) April 3, 2018
— Camille von Kaenel (@cvonka) April 3, 2018
The New York Times was initially not invited.
UPDATE: NYT has now been invited to this announcement and @LFFriedman is racing to the EPA! Stay tuned..
— Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) April 3, 2018
A CBS reporter who was admitted to the event noted that Pruitt posed with auto industry executives after his announcement but took no questions from members of the press who were let in.
Pruitt poses with auto industry execs for a picture after announcing vehicle emissions standards revisions — takes no questions from press pic.twitter.com/IRscVhViRw
— Katie Watson (@kathrynw5) April 3, 2018
Pruitt refused to answer an ABC reporter who confronted him over his scandals.
EPA chief Scott Pruitt doesn't answer when asked by @marykbruce if he has Pres. Trump's support.
Pruitt faces intensifying scrutiny over ethical practices, including his living situation last year at a townhouse co-owned by a top lobbyist's wife: https://t.co/IrmttkhrlN pic.twitter.com/uO7XweiQiF
— ABC News (@ABC) April 3, 2018
The Trump administration has a history of blacklisting reporters. In February of 2017, reporters from The New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed News, and Politico were barred from attending a briefing in then-press secretary Sean Spicer’s office. During the campaign, Trump banned a number of outlets from his events. There are numerous other examples of Trump’s war on the press.
Pruitt's EPA also has a history of blocking reporters from events as well as dropping them from press release distribution lists and retaliating against them in other ways. Journalists have been escorted out of Pruitt events by police. Reporters from The Associated Press and The New York Times have been personally attacked in official agency press releases. And the EPA has repeatedly refused to give reporters basic information about the agency's staffing and activities.