The slights to the mainstream media when President Trump was elected were not, in reporters’ eyes, slight.
There was the 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 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 boiled over.
Gateway Pundit’s White House correspondent, Lucian Wintrich, says the mainstream media’s rage is evident in an altercation Friday in which he says he was called a Nazi and assaulted by another reporter in the White House press briefing room.
Wintrich says 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 blog for which he writes, a supporter of Trump, 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 said, and attempted to convince the room full of reporters that Wintrich and his Gateway Pundit boss, Jim Hoft, 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 of 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 a 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 explained 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.
— Chris Sheridan (@ChrisSheridan34) March 10, 2017
— NH Home (@NHHome12) March 10, 2017
The mainstream media, which have relentlessly tried to advance President Trump and his team’s alleged ties to the so-called “alt-right” and “neo-Nazis,” is unnerved by the rise of the new media and its inclusion in the White House press corps, Wintrich said.
“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 said there is palpable tension between conservative and establishment media during press briefings. It is so intense, he said, 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.”
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. “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 he is considering pressing charges for assault and libel.
“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.”
Hoft told WND Wintrich texted and called him on Friday saying he was “literally shaking” after “this man just accosted me at the White House.”
“I don’t think you could work at any business in America and pull off what that guy did and still have a job,” Hoft said of Decker. “This man should at least be suspended, and he should likely be fired for his behavior and his attacks on a sole reporter, in the White House of all places.
“There is definitely a lot of tension in today in the media and especially in that White House press room,” Hoft explained. “This is a group of elitists – it’s a little clique – you have to pass their inspection to get involved. You must go through the board, and they decide if you are worthy to be a part of their clique or not. They share texts; they share emails with each other.”
After blogging for 12 years, Hoft said the “left-wing media” is more “out of control,” “dysfunctional” and “unhinged” than he’s ever seen it.
“The fact that they are just throwing these words – ‘Nazi’ and ‘white supremacist’ and things like that – around at their opponents tells you a couple of things. One, it tells you that they are completely in the tank for the Democratic Party, which we always suspected. They are becoming more and more untrustworthy and are blatantly promoting violence,” he said. “When they can be violent against a young, gay reporter in the press room – label him a Nazi – they are telling the public that we are some animals that need to be dealt with. ”
The mainstream media, Hoft said, are “no better than Pravda in Russia.”
“It’s very clear if you watch any press conference, any day of the week. These people are out to destroy the Trump administration,” he said. “They just carry water for the Democratic Party. It was very clear with the WikiLeaks documents that there is no wall that between the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. This is a group that works together – there is really no distinction between the two – they party together, they dine together, they go to the same weddings, they hang out together and they all have the same objective. ”
While the mainstream media’s cooperation with the Democratic Party obstructs truth, it fosters places like Gateway Pundit, Drudge Report and alternative media who “report on stories that the media completely ignores,” he said.
The New Yorker, in a March 20-dated story, suggested that there was reason for mainstream media animus toward Wintrich.
Its report says Wintrich, on the occasion of his travel to Washington to be part of the White House press corps, said, “I’m a bit hung over, I’m sorry to report. … Hardly the ideal way to make by grand D.C. entrance, but so be it.”
The report cited Wintrich’s lack of professional training in journalism.
It continued: “Wintrich intended to spend the bus ride (to Washington) catching up on recent news and drafting questions for his first press briefing. Instead, he opened his laptop, which is decorated with a Barry Goldwater sticker, and binge-watched several episodes of the animated sitcom ‘King of the Hill.’ He didn’t seem to take the news-gathering aspect of his new job too seriously; more to the point, he didn’t seem to consider taking the news seriously to be part of his job. ‘The main goal will be to draw attention to the ridiculous hypocrisy of the liberal mainstream media and to push back against them,’ he said.”