By Alicia Powe - wnd.com |
The slights to the mainstream media when President Trump was elected were not, in reporters’ eyes, slight. There was a suggestion that the news briefings would be moved out of the White House, there was a wholesale rearrangement of the order reporters would be allowed to ask questions (depriving AP of the longstanding entitlement it had for the first query). And more.
A wide range of additional news outlets, not just the networks, wires and dailies, were added to those allowed at daily briefings. Spokesman Sean Spicer added “Skype” questions so those outside Washington could participate.
And the combative attitude that Trump established, calling legacy media outlets out for incorrect reporting, grew.
Then suddenly, the testiness, or worse, boiled over.
Gateway Pundit’s White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, says the mainstream media’s rage is evident in Friday’s altercation during which he says he was called a Nazi and assaulted by another reporter in the White House press briefing room.
Wintrich said that he was heading to the restroom in the White House when Fox News radio reporter Jon Decker blocked him from entering.
Decker proceeded to call Wintrich a “white supremacist” and claimed the well-known website for which he writes, which is known to be supportive of Trump’s plans, is a white supremacist organization, Wintrich said.
“I tried to back away from [Decker], I went into the main briefing room, thinking that he would start to back off. He came up to me, grabbed my arm, and started saying to me, ‘There are people I want you to meet,'” Wintrich told WND on Monday.
A beet red-faced Decker proceeded to walk around the press briefing room “playing identity politics,” Wintrich explained, and attempted to convince the room full of reporters that Wintrich and his boss, Jim Hoft, of Gateway Pundit are bigots.
“Suddenly, he started calling me a white supremacist, saying that I worked for a white supremacist organization, claiming that my boss and I were both ‘anti-black, anti-Jew, anti-Hispanic’ – and a litany of false charges,” Wintrich said. “When I sort of got loose of his grasp, he then started singling out black reporters and told them I am anti-black – which is provably false. He then singled out Hispanic reporters and told them, ‘he’s anti-Hispanic.'”
Wintrich said he asked Decker if he had ever even read anything of the content published on Gateway Pundit or anything written by Hoft and Decker admitted he hadn’t.
“He is a journalist, making these egregious claims against us, and he hasn’t even read a single, solitary word that we’ve published, ” Wintrich said. “It’s completely unconscionable.”
Wintrich said most the reporters in the room were relatively silent amid Deckers’ erratic behavior, although a handful of them came to his defense. Politico, nonetheless, published an article claiming Decker was widely congratulated and high-fived after castigating Wintrich.
Politico claimed, “people walked up to him shaking his hands because he called us out,” Wintrich said. “He didn’t call us out, he basically made stuff up.”
“They are running with this false narrative because we are new media, we have wider audience than half of these mainstream outlets. And they are terrified that we are going to – and we are – replacing them.”
While leaving the White House press briefing, Wintrich was confronted outside the West Wing by White House Correspondent and Washington Bureau Chief for American Urban Radio Networks April Ryan, he said.
Ryan asked Wintrich whether he is a racist, if he believes in integration and blacks and whites mingling.
The confrontation was recorded and posted to Twitter by Chris Sheridan, senior producer for Al Jazeera English.
After Wintrich explains to Ryan that half of his family was killed in the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and that his grandfather wrote a book about surviving the Holocaust, she proceeded to press Wintrich about whether he is racist.
The mainstream media, which has relentlessly tried to advance president Trump and his team’s alleged ties to the “alt right” and “neo-Nazis,” is unnerved by the rise of the new media and its inclusion in the White House press corps, Wintrich argued.
“This really does come down to the media fearing … us in the White House. They don’t know how to react, so like children they are just going to scream that we are racist, which is just completely asinine, and unfounded,” he said. “Their viewership and their readership is crumbling. Americans are sick of them, they know that they were being misled during the election, by the mainstream media by the leftist outlets. Now, finally we see a paradigm shift here – people are reading conservative outlets before tuning into these very biased, leftists-leaning news sources.”
He says there is palpable tension between conservative and establishment media during press briefings that is so intense it ultimately “manifested through an actual physical aggression and verbal aggression.”
“Obama pulled in a ton of sycophantic media – Huffington Post, Buzzfeed – like every liberal outlet he could get his hands on, he credentialed,” he said. “Obviously, that’s going to shift the vibe in the room away from actual journalism and turn it into a leftist propaganda-house. That’s what we had for the past eight years, that’s what we are seeing change, and these leftists are shaking over it.”
Decker denies that the incident took place. WND attempted to reach both Fox and Decker, with emails and telephone calls, but was provided only the same statement Decker had issued earlier:
“Earlier today I had a conversation with a representative from the online publication Gateway Pundit. The conversation was straightforward and direct,” Decker said in a prepared statement. “I also informed the full White House pool that this representative was present in the briefing room. At no time did I accost or assault this individual. More than a dozen witnesses will attest to this fact.”
Wintrich told WND that he is considering pressing charges and that, there are two legal aspects of the altercation.
“In addition to assault we are looking at libel,” he said. “Conservatives in general across America are disgusted with these idiots screaming ‘racist,’ ‘bigot,’ ‘homophobe’ and whatever else at us when they really don’t have an argument. We’re small government conservatives, we believe in the vast majority of principles that this country was founded on. And these people don’t – they are a mix of neocons and socialist. They know they don’t have a good argument and they know that their ideas and systems fail, and have failed throughout history, their best recourse is just screaming ‘racist’ at us.”