After the minor scandal that erupted after the white nationalist radio host James Edwards was given press credentials at a Donald Trump rally in Memphis, the Trump campaign deflected criticism by claiming that it provided credentials to every reporter who asked for them. Not true, claims a local black newspaper.
The Tri-State Defender, a weekly newspaper serving Memphis’s black community, has been publishing since 1951. Karanja Ajanaku, the paper’s executive editor, told The Wrap that reporters sent two requests to be credentialed and received no response, beginning six days before Saturday’s rally.
“We sent out two email requests,” Karanja Ajanaku, executive editor of The New Tri-State Defender, told TheWrap. “The first email was sent on the Monday before the event, but we never heard back. The second email was sent on Thursday. They never even acknowledged our emails.”
Ajanaku added that the paper regularly covers the campaign, and was credentialed for Hillary Clinton and Ben Carson events in Memphis.
“The campaign provided media credentials to everyone that requested access to the event on Saturday in Memphis. There were close to 200 reporters in attendance and we do not personally vet each individual,” Trump spokesman Hope Hicks said in a statement after the dustup. “The campaign had no knowledge of his personal views and strongly condemns them.”
But the idea that Trump lets any old reporter into his campaign events is a joke, as evidenced by the long list of high-profile members of the media who have been either refused credentials or kicked out of events.
Of course, the Defender is not exactly the New York Times, but then again neither is “The Political Cesspool,” Edwards’ expressly pro-white show. Even the New York Times itself can’t catch a break: when Times reporter Trip Gabriel covered a Trump event in Iowa, a staffer told him to leave. The other 20 reporters in attendance were allowed to stay.