Trump has been trying to ban reporters from covering White House events because he didn’t like their questions.
President Trump has sought repeatedly to punish journalists for the way they ask him questions, directing White House staff to ban those reporters from covering official events or to revoke their press credentials, according to several current and former administration officials.
On Wednesday, however, newly installed Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took action against CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins, telling her she could not attend Trump’s open-media event in the Rose Garden because they objected to her questioning of the president earlier in the day.
The move revealed a fresh willingness inside the West Wing to execute the president’s wishes to punish reporters. It immediately drew a chorus of protest throughout the media, including from Fox News Channel, Trump’s favorite network and Shine’s former employer.
Trump Is Trying To Silence The Free Press
There is a term for what Trump is doing. The president is engaging in press intimidation, and it is a specialty of authoritarian regimes. Trump is trying to control what is reported in the press by using access denial as a punishment. Unfortunately for Trump, the US has a strong and free press, so if he continues with his suppression tactics the result will be stronger coverage of his administration’s behaviors. When reporters are told that they can’t investigate something, that is a red flag that leads to more and deeper investigation.
If Trump tells journalists not to ask questions about Russia or punishes them for asking questions about the scandal, they will respond by asking even more questions.
Trump can’t silence the press, but his impulse is undemocratic, and a threat to the basic freedoms of every American.
Just because he doesn’t like the questions, doesn’t mean that Trump can ban reporters.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association