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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/29/20

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon: "I stand with NPR and the Free Press Against the Demonization of Inconvenient Media"

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NPR: Mike Pompeo Berated Reporter After Questions On Ukraine | The 11th Hour | MSNBC NPR's Mary Louise Parker pushed Secy. of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly on Ukraine, and he reportedly berated her using curse words and demanding she ...
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When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacked NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly and impugned her for doing her job, he stepped way over a line that Secretaries of State should never get near. She had the shocking temerity to ask him questions about Ukraine that he didn't want to answer after giving his staff advance warning she might ask him questions about Ukraine.

That's a good journalist's job.

At a time when dictators and strongmen around the world are imprisoning and killing journalists and using cries of "fake news" to justify it, U.S. foreign policy needs to include a robust defense of freedom of the press. Instead our top diplomat is encouraging the demonization of inconvenient media because he was asked some hard questions. He's even barred NPR from flying with the U.S. delegation on an upcoming trip overseas.

As an elected official, I've had my disagreements with members of the press from time to time. But it is the very freedom of the press that stands as a bulwark against fascism and tyranny.

Secretary Pompeo needs to understand that his role is to defend American values around the world, and that includes protecting the freedom of journalists to ask difficult questions of those who are given the high responsibility of governing this country.

Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon


Meanwhile, from The Hill, today's article:


The ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday demanded the State Department reinstate an NPR reporter on Secretary Mike Pompeo's trip to Europe and Central Asia.

The journalist was removed from the group of reporters traveling with the top official after a tense interview from a fellow NPR reporter.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) slammed the removal of NPR reporter Michele Keleman, suggesting the decision undermines America's ideals of an open and free press.

"Punishing a credible U.S. news outlet by kicking their reporter off of the Secretary's plane is something we would expect from an authoritarian dictator," he added.

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