The State Department kicked NPR reporter Michele Kelemen off Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s plane headed to London, England and Kiev, Ukraine.
The ouster came just days after another NPR blogger, Mary Louise Kelly, accused Pompeo — without evidence — of berating her amid a testy exchange during which she reportedly could not locate Ukraine on a map.
State Dept Correspondents Association's @shauntandon:"We can only conclude State retaliating against @NPR as result of this exchange..State press corps has long tradition of accompanying secretaries on travel,we find it unacceptable to punish individual member of our association"
— Nick Schifrin (@nickschifrin) January 27, 2020
Predictably, many in the mainstream media sided with NPR and accused Pompeo of “retaliating against” NPR.
In a statement, AFP writer Shaun Tandon — the president of the State Department Correspondents’ Association — speculated:
“We can only conclude that the State Department is retaliating against National Public Radio as a result of this exchange. The State Department press corps has long tradition of accompanying Secretaries of State on their travels, and we find it unacceptable to punish an individual member of our association.”
Despite the whining and hollow lip service, other reporters in the press corps did not boycott the State Department’s trip.
The brouhaha erupted when NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly accused Mike Pompeo of cursing at her after she repeatedly bombarded him with questions about Ukraine after the two had reportedly agreed in advance that the interview would be about Iran.
Pompeo got upset when Kelly suggested that he — as Secretary of State — failed to support Marie Yovanovitch, a former ambassador to Ukraine who was appointed by Barack Obama.
President Trump ordered the firing of Yovanovitch in 2018 after learning that she was plotting to undermine him as part of a left-wing campaign to impeach him.
Keep in mind that Trump had the right to fire her for any reason because all political appointees “serve at the pleasure of the President.”
NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly suggested that Mike Pompeo should have shielded Yovanovitch from being fired — in defiance of his boss, President Trump.
During a testy exchange, Pompeo asked Kelly to locate Ukraine on a map, and she allegedly responded by pointing to Bangladesh.
After the interview, Kelly claimed that Pompeo had scolded her for lying to him about the intended topic of their interview.
Pompeo said Kelly did an unscrupulous bait-and-switch to land the interview under false pretenses. Interviewers and their subjects typically discuss the parameters of their interviews beforehand.
This is standard protocol. It’s like when you ask someone for a meeting, you tell them what the meeting will be about in advance so they can decide if they want to make time for you.
For example, if Hillary Clinton grants an interview to a reporter to discuss her forthcoming documentary about herself and the reporter spends the entire time asking her about Monica Lewinsky’s soiled blue dress, would Hillary be upset? Absolutely — and with good reason.
After Kelly accused Pompeo of berating her, he released a statement saying the NPR interview was a setup, and not a good-faith interview to discuss his foreign-policy goals as Secretary of State.
“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month — in setting up our interview — and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record.
It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency. This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration.
It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson said the Democrats’ sham impeachment is actually a power struggle between Trump’s efforts to Drain the Swamp and establishment Washington fat cats who got rich by taking money from foreign lobbyists.
(Video: Tucker Carlson Tonight)
Carlson said: “Trump’s real sin was questioning military aid to Ukraine. Why? Because it is America’s duty to remain on the brink of war with Russia forever and indefinitely.”
Tucker continued: “Permanent Washington was enraged that Trump violated neocon orthodoxy by criticizing Middle Eastern wars and promising to de-escalate tensions with Russia. Nothing he has done before or since has made them angrier than that did. It was a direct threat to their paychecks.”
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