Hours after the Washington Post published an article pointing out that Donald Trump’s comments seemingly suggested that President Obama was associated with the Orlando shootings, Trump revoked the news organization’s press credentials.
Trump first posted on Facebook, “I am no fan of President Obama, but to show you how dishonest the phony Washington Post is, they wrote, ‘Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting’ as their headline. Sad!”
The current, as of publication, headline for the article is “Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting.” The Washington Post told TKNN that the headline change was “to more properly reflect what Trump said.” The change was their own decision and the Trump campaign did not reach out to them about it.
Minutes after that Facebook status update, Trump posted, “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 later released a longer statement saying, “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.”
“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 fact is, The Washington Post is being used by the owners of Amazon as their political lobbyist so that they don’t have to pay taxes and don’t get sued for monopolistic tendencies that have led to the destruction of department stores and the retail industry.”
The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon. This is not the first time Trump has made this attack on the Washington Post. In May, Trump told Fox News that Bezos is “using The Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed.”
“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,” Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron said in a statement. “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.”
The Washington Post is not the only outlet banned by the Trump campaign. The Huffington Post, National Review, Daily Beast, BuzzFeed, Politico, and the Des Moines Register have all been banned from Trump events. The Huffington Post tweeted, “.@washingtonpost Welcome to the club. #bannedbytrump.” While the Huffington Post’s senior politics editor, Sam Stein, tweeted, “Hey, WaPo folks, if you want tips for covering Trump while being blacklisted, hit me up.”
While it is not uncommon for candidates to dislike coverage and news organizations, an outright ban on organizations is unprecedented for American presidential candidates. The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Robert Mahoney, said in a statement, “A candidate for the highest elected office in the land doesn’t get to choose what goes in a newspaper. Revoking the credentials of the WashingtoN Post to cover the Trump campaign is bad for voters in the United States and bad for press freedom everywhere.”
“It provides a ready made excuse for authoritarian leaders to crackdown further on independent journalists. We urge Donald Trump to reconsider and let the Washington Post do its job.”
This post has been updated with further information.