WaPo Media Critic Calls Out CNN, April Ryan: Speak Up on Bodyguard Attack, or Lose Status as ‘First Amendment Champions’

Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple called out CNN and its contributor, April Ryan, for their notable silence about an incident earlier this month where her bodyguard allegedly assaulted a TV journalist trying to cover one of her speaking engagements: “Speak now or relinquish your standing as First Amendment champions.”

In a forceful column, Wemple called out the “professional hypocrisy” of both the network and one of its biggest on-air personalities for failing to explain, condemn, or apologize for the bodyguard roughly manhandling a member of the press and interfering with his reporting duties. The bodyguard, who Ryan has said she hired after getting death threats, has now been charged with assault, theft, and harassment.

“It’s one thing to hire a bodyguard to protect a freedom-of-press advocate from death threats,” Wemple noted. “It’s another thing when the bodyguard undermines freedom of press on behalf of the freedom-of-press advocate.”

He also noted that, when contacted to offer a public comment on the incident, both CNN and Ryan were anything but forthcoming to a fellow member of the press.

“Though Ryan is happy to light up CNN’s airwaves with outrage over the Trump administration’s heavy-handed actions vis-a-vis press access, what does she have to say when her own actions are in the mix?” he wrote. “She called and requested to speak off the record. No thanks.”

Likewise, Wemple reported that CNN’s PR team did not respond to his questions, much like the silence that the reported assaulted by Ryan’s bodyguard has gotten from both Ryan and the network.

“The strategy here is to ignore the situation in the hopes that it will blow over,” Wemple concluded. “Such an outcome shouldn’t be furnished to CNN and Ryan, given the level of professional hypocrisy at hand.”

“Speak now or relinquish your standing as First Amendment champions.”

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