NPR is asking the State Department to explain its decision to deny an NPR reporter press credentials to travel with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on an upcoming trip to Europe, NPR President and CEO John Lansing announced Tuesday.
…Saying the State Department has not responded to NPR’s initial attempts to communicate, Lansing added, “Our SVP of News Nancy Barnes and I are now sending the attached letter to the State Department demanding answers.”
NPR will continue to pursue the issue, Lansing said, adding that access to people in power is fundamental to “the role of journalism in America.”
…On Saturday, Pompeo issued a statement accusing Kelly of violating “the basic rules of journalism and decency.”
NPR’s senior vice president for news, Nancy Barnes, responded to Pompeo’s statement by stating, “Mary Louise Kelly has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity, and we stand behind this report.”
…Pompeo has said Kelly had agreed to discuss only Iran – a claim he has not offered any evidence to support. Kelly says she confirmed with Pompeo’s press secretary that she intended to ask Pompeo about both Iran and Ukraine, a country that is key to Trump’s impeachment trial. Kelly has produced emails that reflect those conversations.
…”The State Department press corps has a long tradition of accompanying secretaries of state on their travels and we find it unacceptable to punish an individual member of our association,” [State Department Correspondents’ Association president Shaun] Tandon added.
Noting that in the past, the State Department has “courageously defended journalists around the world through statements under its seal,” Tandon said, “We are committed to do our part to preserve a respectful, professional relationship with the institution we cover.”