How a candidate treats the press while on the campaign trail is usually a good indicator of how they’ll treat them while in office. And as the 2024 general election nears, our U.S Press Freedom Tracker is making a public record of just that — cataloging statements against the press by candidates for federal office and efforts by them to diminish the media’s newsgathering capabilities.
It was certainly true for Donald Trump. From the time he declared his first candidacy for president in 2015 through to his account suspension on X (then Twitter) in 2021, Trump tweeted negatively about the press an average of more than once a day over those 5 ½ years, according to the Tracker.
And this year, as a candidate and presumptive presidential Republican nominee, he’s doing it again. His campaign, for example, barred an NBC reporter from attending an event in New Hampshire in late January, but did not provide any explanation why.
And this year, as a candidate and presumptive presidential Republican nominee, [Trump's] doing it again.
Only five days earlier, the former president said that CNN and MSNBC should “have their licenses or whatever they have taken away,” after the networks only aired a portion of his Iowa caucus victory speech.
Other candidates use similar playbooks. U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican running for reelection in a tossup district in New York’s Hudson Valley, recently ended a monthslong effort to restrict media access to his public town hall events. Vivek Ramaswamy, who’s now suspended his Republican presidential bid, used his opening statement at a November GOP debate to target NBC News anchor Kristen Welker and the “corrupt media establishment,” while falsely claiming the media rigged the 2020 election.
From now until Election Day, our Tracker team will continue to document and highlight relevant sidelining of, attacks on, or outright barring of press from major campaign events across the United States.
Follow the Tracker’s Election Blog here.