The National Press Club and its Journalism Institute plan a summit this fall to tackle the Trump Administration’s hostility toward the media.
It wants to establish a dialogue between newsmakers and reporters and set the ground rules to ensure the media coverage of public events funded by taxpayer money.
The NPC’s call for a summit follows the May 21 incident at the Environmental Protection Agency at which an Associated Press reporter was shoved by a security guard and other reporters, including representatives from CNN and Politico, were barred from a meeting on water pollution that featured embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt.
EPA guards refused to let Ellen Knickmeyer of the AP pass through a checkpoint. When she asked to speak to a PA representative, she was forcibly escorted from the building. Knickmeyer ultimately was allowed to cover the meeting.
AP executive editor Sally Buzbee called the EPA’s selective barring of news organizations “alarming and a direct threat to the public’s right to know about what is happening inside their government.”
"Pushing reporters around is what happens in dictatorships, not in a democracy where the press's right to represent the public is enshrined in our Constitution," said Andrea Snyder Edney, NPC president. "And why were reporters being kept out of a meeting of major news significance at which a senior leader was speaking on the public record?"
The EPA apologized to the AP and via an email to the NPC maintained that it was only trying to manage a crowded room.
The NPC and JI want to summit to expand on the “Can We Talk” session event last summer on ways to lower the tension between the media and political/institutional leaders.