It’s troubling that the campaign of Donald Trump routinely denies credentials to reporters from news outlets that have produced critical coverage of him.
It’s troubling that Donald Trump bullies reporters — especially female ones, such as NBC News’s Katy Tur and Fox News’s Megyn Kelly.
It’s troubling that Donald Trump has threatened to “open up” the country’s libel laws so that politicians like himself can sue the media more easily.
It’s troubling that Donald Trump has singled out for ridicule camera operators at his rallies who don’t follow his instructions to capture the huge crowds.
It’s extremely troubling that Donald Trump’s former campaign manager grabbed and allegedly bruised the arm of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.
But what happened yesterday to Washington Post reporter Jose A. DelReal is absolutely terrifying.
DelReal was attempting to access a rally of Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, outside of Milwaukee. Trump’s people have been denying press credentials to Washington Posties for some time, but the Pence folks took things to new extremes, as The Post’s Paul Farhi reports. After failing to secure press credentials, DelReal did what any good reporter does — namely, seek entrance to the rally via general admission, just like non-media types attending the event. Farhi:
He was stopped there by a private security official who told him he couldn’t enter the building with his laptop and cellphone. When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cellphones, he said the unidentified official replied, “Not if they work for The Washington Post.”
After placing his computer and phone in his car, DelReal returned to the line and was detained again by security personnel, who summoned two county sheriff’s deputies. The officers patted down DelReal’s legs and torso, seeking his phone, the reporter said.
When the officers — whom DelReal identified as Deputy John Lappley and Capt. Michelle Larsuel — verified that he wasn’t carrying a phone, the reporter asked to be admitted. The security person declined. “He said, ‘I don’t want you here. You have to go,’ ” DelReal said.
An unnamed official claimed that volunteers had overshot their authority in the incident: “It sounds like they misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing,” the official told Farhi. “This is not our policy.”
There you have it. When the leader of the campaign trashes and harasses the media, the underlings “misinterpret” the message to mean, essentially, anything goes. Surprise, surprise — Trump has unleashed a demagogic fever that his running mate’s people are having trouble controlling.