Just another day trying to cover a politician in Washington

There probably isn’t a more ethical and conservative (small “c”) news organization in America than the Associated Press, so today’s decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to deny the AP entry to a summit on water featuring EPA head Scott Pruitt is an escalation of the showdown between the administration and the free press.

Pruitt has been under fire for lavish spending, housing arrangements in sweetheart deals with industries the EPA is supposed to regulate, a burgeoning security team and raises for political appointees.

He was giving a speech today to talk about chemicals in water, but the Associated Press and CNN were refused entry, according to AP reporter Ellen Knickmeyer.

“This was simply an issue of the room reaching capacity, which reporters were aware of prior to the event,” an EPA spokesman said.

The Hill said there were empty seats in the press area.

“When the reporter (Knickmeyer) 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,” the Associated Press reported.

Knickmeyer got her story anyway.

Journalists who wanted to cover the two-day event were limited to only one hour of attendance.

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s selective barring of news organizations, including the AP, from covering today’s meeting is alarming and a direct threat to the public’s right to know about what is happening inside their government,” AP executive editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement. “It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed.”

Later, the EPA reversed course and said the reporters, even those banned, could attend the summit on drinking water, which comes after emails uncovered by news organizations proved the EPA helped delay the release of a study that found PFAs in water supplies are harmful to human health at lower levels than the agency previously thought.

  • MrE85

    I’m not sure what news organizations can do about this sort of thing, considering a large number of our fellow citizens seem to be just fine with the way our country is going.

    • They just need to keep doing their jobs. It’s not the first time in our history collective ignorance has been a roadblock to a functioning democracy. it won’t be the last.

      • MrE85

        Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, they used to say. I don’t know what to say now.

        UPDATE: It looks like the newsies have won this round. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/epa-allows-all-reporters-to-meeting-on-chemicals-after-outcry

        • Mike Worcester

          //Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, they used to say. I don’t know what to say now.

          I use variations of “never pick a fight with someone who buys their bandwidth by the gigabyte”. (And I totally stole that from AdWeek a few years ago 🙂 ).

    • Jerry

      If this administration straight up said they were building concentration camps for immigrants (and others), people would be lobbying to have them built near their towns, for the jobs they would bring. Look at Appleton.

  • jon

    Streisand effect, if the media wasn’t banned from attending this event I’m fairly certain I never would have heard that “the EPA helped delay the release of a study that found PFAs in water supplies are harmful to human health at lower levels than the agency previously thought.”

  • kevins

    This is how Trump wants the “State” to run…by his wishes and to his advantage. The EPA chief survives by agreeing. It only hurts in the long run if people let them get away with it, although if we don’t get Trump and his thugs out of office soon, we may not have much of a country left.

    • jon

      The EPA chief survives by being the choice of industry to run the EPA…

      If trump loses industry in the US, he also loses his support from the GOP because they need money from industry to run their races, a few layoffs from industry could even turns a sizable portion of trump’s base against him…

      Pruitt would have been booted from any other administration a half dozen times by now, and yet, in the trump administration he isn’t going anywhere… Trump has dropped people who have become to much of a hassle before, heck he seemed to be doing it weekly for a while there… but never Pruitt or Mnuchin, Apparently whatever value those two bring to his administration (the buy in from industry and banks) it is irreplaceable by any one else who is/was willing to work in the trump administration (And meets all of the requirements to do so… namely willing to swear allegiance to trump.)

  • Brian Simon

    …waiting for all the 2nd amendment folks to leap to the defense of the 1st…