Unhappy with "incredibly inaccurate coverage," Donald Trump on Monday announced he would revoke the Washington Post's press credentials.
“The Washington Post unfortunately covers Mr. Trump very inaccurately. Today's headline, 'Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting' is a perfect example. We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for "clicks" above journalistic integrity,” Trump’s campaign said in a statement. “They have no journalistic integrity and write falsely about Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump does not mind a bad story, but it has to be honest.”
The Post story that has outraged Trump is a report on the presumptive GOP presidential nominee's comments on Fox News on Monday, saying Obama is either not tough, not smart, or “he’s got something else in mind” when it comes to combating Islamic terrorism.
“People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can't even mention the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.' There's something going on. It's inconceivable. There's something going on,” Trump added.
The Washington Post becomes the most high-profile media organization to be banned by Trump. Buzzfeed, Politico, the Des Moines Register and New Hampshire Union Leader are among the other news organizations that have been denied access from the Trump campaign for unfavorable coverage.
Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said in a statement that the paper would continue to cover the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
“Donald Trump’s decision to revoke The Washington Post’s press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn’t correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished,” Baron said. “The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along – honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We’re proud of our coverage, and we’re going to keep at it.”
Trump’s penchant for lashing out at the media has proven worrisome to journalists and defenders of the First Amendment. It is is particularly troubling for political journalists looking at the possibility of covering a Trump presidency.
Longtime White House reporter and former president of the White House Correspondents’ Association George Condon told NBC News in an email that he knows of “no instance of any newspaper having its [White House] credentials pulled” since the inception of the correspondents’ association in 1914.
“The closest I can think of is when [President Richard] Nixon blocked reporters he hated from going on the historic China trip in 1972 when the number of reporters was limited by the Chinese, giving the White House a pretty big opportunity to play favorites,” Condon said.
Famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who helped break the Watergate scandal that resulted in Nixon’s resignation, said the White House took a much lighter retaliation as the paper reported on the now famous political controversy in the early 1970s.
“The Nixon White House did not formally pull press credentials of the Post but did begin excluding the Post from covering social events at the White House,” Woodward told NBC News.