Donald Trump Bars Des Moines Register From Covering Campaign Rally
Donald Trump is throwing a temper tantrum in Iowa.
Donald Trump has banned reporters from the largest newspaper in the Iowa from covering his campaign rally today in retaliation for an editorial the paper published earlier this week:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has denied The Des Moines Register press credentials to gain access to a candidate event scheduled for Saturday in Oskaloosa.
The reason: an editorial published by the newspaper last Tuesday calling on Trump to quit the Republican race.
Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich was informed Friday that she had been denied a credential to the event, a “family picnic” featuring Trump that will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the George Daily Community Auditorium in Oskaloosa.
Trump’s national campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told Obradovich in a phone call that the Register was being excluded from the event because of the editorial.
The Register’s editorial board operates independently from the editors and reporters who conduct political coverage.
In a subsequent conversation with the Register’s chief political reporter, Jennifer Jacobs, Lewandowski reiterated that news staffers were being denied access because of the editorial.
“We’re not issuing credentials to anyone from The Des Moines Register based on the editorial that they wrote earlier in the week,” he said.]
In a statement, Amalie Nash, the Register’s editor and vice president for audience engagement, emphasized the division between the newspaper’s news and opinion desks.
“We are disappointed that Mr. Trump’s campaign has taken the unusual step of excluding Register reporters from covering his campaign event in Iowa on Saturday because he was displeased with our editorial,” she said. “As we previously said, the editorial has no bearing on our news coverage. We work hard to provide Iowans with coverage of all the candidates when they spend time in Iowa, and this is obviously impeding our ability to do so. We hope Mr. Trump’s campaign will revisit its decision instead of making punitive decisions because we wrote something critical of him.”
Among other things, the Register‘s editorial stated that Trump’s antics had impacted the Republican Presidential race “to such an extent that serious candidates who actually have the credentials to serve as president can’t get their message across to voters,” and called on him to end his “bloviating sideshow.” Given such strong language, it’s perhaps understandable that the campaign would be annoyed, and I would have expected a similar reaction from the campaign of any other candidate who was the subject of such a blistering editorial. At the same time, though, denying reporters access to your event because of what the Editorial Page said is the kind of petty vindictiveness that doesn’t speak well of Trump or his campaign advisers, and should give a good indication of how he would operate in the incredibly unlikely event that he actually ever became President.
In reality, of course, this showdown with the Register is all part of the same populist “anti-establishment” campaign that Trump has been running for the past month. If there’s one entity that the populist right hates, it’s the “liberal” media, so taking on one of the representatives of that group is likely to resonate well with the people support Trump. Additionally, while the Register is biggest paper in the state it is apparently not very well regarded by hardcore Iowa Republicans so Trump likely isn’t hurting himself by dissing the paper, especially since it will likely guarantee that he gets a lot more free air time in the form of coverage by the state’s television stations. Say what you will about Trump, and there’s plenty to be said, but he’s playing this game very well right now and the populist right seems to be enjoying the ride.
Update: Jennifer Jacobs, the head political reporter at the Register, apparently was able to get into the event along with another reporter from the paper:
Des Moines Register's Henry Hahn in main auditorium covering event for us, I'm in overflow. Trump staff polite; Trump silent when he saw me.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) July 25, 2015