Trump adds Washington Post to his blacklist

Republican nominee accuses leading US newspaper of being dishonest, revokes press credentials

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK • United States Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, in his latest attack on the media, has said he will no longer issue press credentials to the Washington Post.

The move is aimed at stopping the publication from gaining access to press areas at his presidential campaign events.

The Washington Post, based in the US capital, is one of the country's most influential newspapers and has one of the largest circulations.

"They have no journalistic integrity and write falsely about Mr Trump," his campaign said on Monday, in a statement explaining the decision.

"Mr Trump does not mind a bad story, but it has to be honest," the statement added.

His campaign repeated criticisms that Mr Trump has previously levelled at Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, who also owns online retailer Amazon.com.

It is unusual for a presidential campaign to refuse to issue credentials to news organisations. Credentials are needed for reporters, photographers and other staff to gain access to press seatings, travel with the campaign, and attend media-only events like press conferences.

"Donald Trump's decision to revoke The Washington Post's press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press," the newspaper's editor, Mr Marty Baron, said in a statement.

"When coverage doesn't correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organisation is banished.

"The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along - honourably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We're proud of our coverage, and we're going to keep at it, " he added.

A source close to the campaign said the ban could be temporary and pointed out that Mr Trump has already barred other news organisations, including Politico, from obtaining press credentials, and then reversed course.

Mr Ben Smith, executive editor of Buzzfeed, said his news organisation, which targets millennials, is also banned from covering official Trump events.

The Huffington Post posted on Twitter that its reporters are also barred.

Mr Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: "A candidate for the highest elected office in the land doesn't get to choose what goes in a newspaper.

"It provides a ready-made excuse for authoritarian leaders to crack down further on independent journalists. We urge Donald Trump to reconsider and let the Washington Post do its job."

Mr Trump's campaign took issue with an article that appeared on The Washington Post's website on Monday, with the headline "Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting".

The headline was changed to "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting" within an hour after it was published.

The Washington Post has assigned a team of reporters to produce a book about Mr Trump that is scheduled to be released later this year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Trump adds Washington Post to his blacklist'. Print Edition | Subscribe