Earlier today, the AP got some attention with a story about the EPA barring them as well as CNN from a summit led by Scott Pruitt:
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) May 22, 2018
CNN and AP reporters banned, forcibly removed by guards.
Just like at the Kremlin. https://t.co/CGZKfDrubc
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) May 22, 2018
The Environmental Protection Agency is barring The Associated Press, CNN and the environmental-focused news organization E&E from a national summit on harmful water contaminants.
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the barred organizations they were not invited and there was no space for them, but gave no indication of why they specifically were barred.
Guards barred an AP reporter from passing through a security checkpoint inside the building. When the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person, the security guards grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.
And from the Washington Post:
AP reporter Ellen Knickmeyer tweeted that EPA guards grabbed a reporter by the shoulders and “shoved” the journalist out of the building. Knickmeyer declined to identify herself as the reporter, but AP later confirmed that she was the one excluded.
By midafternoon, the EPA reversed course and permitted Knickmeyer to cover the conference’s afternoon session. Knickmeyer said that an adviser to Pruitt called to apologize to her and that officials were looking into the shoving incident, according to AP.
In a statement, Knickmeyer’s boss, AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee, called the episode “alarming and a direct threat to the public’s right to know about what is happening inside their government.” She added, “It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed.”
It sure sounds bad … but is that really how it happened?
“I was there. No one ‘forcibly’ grabbed her. She wasn’t on the list, but felt she was too special for the rules, simply refused to leave, despite being asked numerous times to do so. After minutes of stonewalling, police told her they would make her leave” https://t.co/MjWXqZZkAB
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) May 22, 2018
More from the Daily Caller:
“This was simply an issue of the room reaching capacity, which reporters were aware of prior to the event,” [EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox] said in a statement addressing the situation. AP’s report also contends that security guards “grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.”Wilcox claimed he and other EPA public affair officials were unaware of the security guard’s actions. “We were able to accommodate 10 reporters, provided a livestream for those we could not accommodate and were unaware of the individual situation that has been reported,” he said.
The events that unfolded at the summit appear more mundane than sinister, according Wilcox’s retelling. The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Jason Hopkins was at the event and witnessed a reporter trying to gain entry.
“I was there,” Hopkins said. “No one ‘forcibly’ grabbed her. She wasn’t on the list, but felt she was too special for the rules and simply refused to leave, despite being asked numerous times to do so. After ten minutes of stonewalling, the police told her if she didn’t leave they would make her leave.”
Hmmm. This is confusing, to say the least.
I mean of course no one at an event full of reporters would break out their phone to record a reporter being forcibly removed from the event.
— RBe (@RBPundit) May 22, 2018
Some video footage would really come in handy right about now …