By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Congressman who banned the press from his events reverses himself

Rep. Mike Lawler

Several weeks ago I wrote about U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler, a New York Republican who’s been barring the press from his town halls with constituents. David McKay Wilson, a reporter with The Journal News of the Lower Hudson Valley, managed to get into one of Lawler’s events with a ticket given to him by a friend and reported on it for his paper.

Now Lawler appears to be backing down, saying that his previous policy “was to prevent these town halls from being hijacked by out-of-district political grandstanders desperately searching for a viral video clip” but that “upon reflection, while well-intentioned, these rules could have been explained and implemented in a better way.”

He said he will now allow credentialed reporters and news photographers into his town halls whether they live in his district or not, and that he will “hold a press gaggle and take questions” after each event once he’s finished taking questions from voters.

This is a significant change, and Lawler deserves credit for listening and learning rather than digging his heels in.

The full text of Lawler’s statement can be found here.

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  1. Paul Bass

    Does Lawler deserve credit for belatedly doing what any remotely accountable elected official should do? Or does David McKay Wilson (and perhaps Dan K?) deserve credit for shaming him into it?

  2. MAC

    Does this take him out of the running for a Muzzle Award”

    • Dan Kennedy

      Since he’s not from New England, he was never in contention. I only have so many trophies I can give out!

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