To: White House Correspondents' Association
Tell the White House Press Corps: Stand In Solidarity Against Trump's Blacklist
If Trump blacklists or bans one of you, the rest of you need to stand up. Instead of ignoring Trump's bad behavior and going about your business, close ranks and stand up for journalism. Don't keep talking about what Trump wants to talk about. Stand up and fight back. Amplify your colleague's inquiry or refuse to engage until he removes that person/outlet from the blacklist.
Why is this important?
During a press conference following the November 2018 midterm election, Donald Trump berated CNN reporter Jim Acosta for asking questions that he didn’t want to answer. Later in the evening, the Trump administration revoked Acosta’s press credentials and barred him from entering the White House grounds.
The White House Press Correspondents Association exists to advance the interests of and protective the White House Press Corps. They need to act. They need to make it a matter of policy that if one of their members if blacklisted, that the rest of the White House Press Corps will line up in solidarity -- and either refuse to participate in White House press events or only ask questions on behalf of the banned reporter/outlet until the ban is lifted.
In response to the ban, many outlets and reporters publicly expressed concern. But, in a couple days their concern will fade and they will go about their business. We know this to be true because it’s happened before.
Trump has a history of doing just this thing.
During the 2016 campaign, he has literally banned the Des Moines Register from covering his events. He banned Univsion from attending his events. He revoked The Washington Post’s credentials for a period in retaliation for a headline that he didn’t like. He revoked Politico’s credentials for a while to punish them for an article he didn’t like. BuzzFeed--which Trump called "a pathetic pile of garbage" during a press conference--was on a blacklist starting in June 2015 and extending well into early 2017. The Daily Beast had been blacklisted as well and was frequently denied credentials as a result.
Despite this long record and Trump’s increasingly brazen attacks against the news media, journalists covering Trump still haven’t learned. Time and time again, as one outlet after another is frozen out, reporters continue to go about their interactions with Trump and his people as if nothing is wrong.
Enough is enough. Some principles are more important than competition among news outlets.
If a free press has any hope of surviving Trump’s sustained attacks, we need the journalists covering Trump to step up and send a clear message: If Trump blackballs one of you, the rest of you need to stand in solidarity.