Critics are calling out CNN and its on-air contributor April Ryan for their silence surrounding an incident that involved Ryan’s bodyguard allegedly assaulting a TV journalist.
In a column for the Washington Post, media critic Erik Wemple takes a swipe at Ryan and the news channel for what he believes to be “professional hypocrisy.”
Earlier this month, the bodyguard, who Ryan enlisted after receiving numerous death threats, was charged with assault, theft, and harassment after manhandling a fellow journalist attempting to cover one of her speaking engagements.
Wemple noted that given Ryan is usually such a vocal first amendment advocate, it was strange and downright unscrupulous that she not condemn her employee for impeding on the rights of another member of the press merely trying to do their job.
“It’s one thing to hire a bodyguard to protect a freedom-of-press advocate from death threats,” Wemple explained. “It’s another thing when the bodyguard undermines freedom of press on behalf of the freedom-of-press advocate.”
He also alleged that when contacted to provide a comment on the incident, neither CNN or Ryan were forthcoming in addressing the altercation.
“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.”
According to Wemple, the network’s PR team also refused to answer any of his questions.
“The strategy here is to ignore the situation in the hopes that it will blow over,” he 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,” the column challenges.