White House reporter April Ryan’s reputation for integrity skyrocketed into the public eye this year when a clip of her response to then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s claim that the Nazis didn’t use chemical weapons in their “Holocaust centers” went viral.
Ryan has since continued her job with every ounce of professionalism she can muster amidst the administration’s alarming attacks on the press, but the journey hasn’t been easy. Ryan said in an interview with CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday that she and other reporters have received death threats for doing their job.
The exchange laid bare the danger in Trump’s constant attacks on the media:
April Ryan: I have talked to other reporters. We’ve gotten death threats. Being on the road sometimes, some of the reporters are saying at a moment’s notice the crowd could turn. And just recently —
Brian Stelter (Host): April, let me ask you, you just said “death threats.” You just said “death threats” for reporting?
Ryan: Yeah. Death Threats. Yes. For asking questions and reporting. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Ryan says that she’s talked to her employer and that they have the FBI and the local police on speed dial. The implication of Trump’s behavior is far-reaching and has had a real impact on journalists like Ryan. And this is all simply because Ryan asked Trump an excellent and rather blunt question that somehow no other reporter had the audacity to ask:
“Mr. President, are you a racist?”
Death threats aside, Ryan will not be backing down from her commitment to documenting this moment in history. Her courage and her drive should be applauded, and when the administration is finally out of office, reporters like Ryan will forever stand on the right side of history.
Ryan had this to say about the current political climate:
“Well the success of the White House Press Corps is that we continue to do our job, and we’re going to do our job.”
“There has been a war on the press by the White House, led by the president. And you said a very big word that really resonates, and it really touched, hit me, when you said its poisonous – because it is.”
Poisonous, indeed. The press is protected by the First Amendment, and that is here to stay. The freedom of our press is a part of what keeps our government functioning with integrity despite an administration that seeks to dismantle its checks and balances. Ryan finished with one poignant warning about the direction in which our democracy is headed:
“But we still, we have – we are ingrained in the First Amendment freedom of the press. There is a back and forth for a reason. We’re the fourth estate, a powerful fourth estate. That’s part of the accountability piece, and this separates us from Russia, from China, and third world countries that have a problem. They govern – they govern the press.”
Featured Image via Youtube Video.