News & Politics

Donald Trump “Bans” Washington Post From Covering His Campaign

Photograph via iStock.

Donald Trump declares in a Facebook post that his campaign will no longer provide credentials to the Washington Post, adding the newspaper to a long list of news organizations he has attempted to ban from covering his White House bid.

“Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post,” the presumptive Republican nominee writes.

The hypersensitive businessman announced his revocation of the Post‘s access shortly after another message in which he slammed the paper for publishing a story about his reaction to Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida with an unflattering headline. “I am no fan of President Obama, but to show you how dishonest the phony Washington Post is, they wrote, ‘Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting’ as their headline. Sad!” Trump wrote.

Across multiple interviews with morning news shows on Monday, Trump intimated Obama somehow might have had involvement in or knowledge of a massacre that left at least 49 people dead when a shooter opened fire in a gay nightclub in Orlando. The shooter Omar Mateen, was a US citizen born in New York of Afghan descent.

“He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands—it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable,” Trump said when calling into Fox and Friends.

“There are a lot of people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it,” Trump told the Today show.

In being “banned” by Trump, the Post joins an ever-expanding blacklist that also includes Politico, the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Univision, Fusion, the Manchester Union-Leader, Des Moines Register, Mother Jones, and the National Review. Those organizations have continued to cover Trump by having their reporters stand in the general audience at his rallies, though sometimes the Trump campaign’s staff have attempted to remove them, such as an incident last week when Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger was kicked out of a Trump event in San Jose, California. (Politico editor Susan Glasser told Washingtonian “it will not work.”)

Trump, who frequently slams reporters as “disgusting people,” has been especially antagonistic toward the Washington Post for several months. He has dismissed columnist Charles Lane as a “real dope” and reporter Ben Terris as a “real creep.” He has also accused the paper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, of using it as a financial instrument to write-off losses at Amazon.

But getting banned by Trump’s campaign, which relies on the candidate’s Twitter account more than anything to get its message out, may be a mark of good journalism.

In a statement released by the Post, Executive Editor Marty Baron says to expect no change in the paper’s Trump coverage.

“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,” Baron says. “When coverage doesn’t correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along—honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly.  We’re proud of our coverage, and we’re going to keep at it.”

The Trump campaign has not responded to Washingtonian‘s request for a comment.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM: The Trump campaign has published a longer statement on its decision to revoke the Washington Post‘s credentials, accusing the paper of putting “its need for ‘clicks’ above journalistic integrity” and repeating Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that Amazon is using the paper to avoid paying taxes.

“The Washington Post unfortunately covers Mr. Trump very inaccurately,” the statement reads. “Today’s headline, ‘Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting’ is a perfect example. We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for ‘clicks’ above journalistic integrity.”

In April, the Post recorded 64.6 million unique users and 835.1 million overall page views. It also picked up a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its series on deadly police shootings.

“They have no journalistic integrity and write falsely about Mr. Trump,” the Trump campaign’s statement continues. “Mr. Trump does not mind a bad story, but it has to be honest. The fact is, The Washington Post is being used by the owners of Amazon as their political lobbyist so that they don’t have to pay taxes and don’t get sued for monopolistic tendencies that have led to the destruction of department stores and the retail industry.”

Here, Trump is again conflating Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Post, which he controls through his private holding company Nash Holdings, and Amazon, a publicly traded corporation of which Bezos is chairman and chief executive. Nash Holdings and Amazon are distinct entities that are taxed differently. The Post has also continued to cover Amazon and its effects on the retail industry since being purchased by Bezos in August 2013.

Trump, meanwhile, has refused to release his income-tax returns, usually a customary move by presidential candidates.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.