CNN political analyst April Ryan has been silent regarding a local New Jersey news reporter who appeared to be violently removed from an event where the liberal pundit was speaking - and now even a far-left media critic thinks she’s a hypocrite.
Washington Post media watchdog Erik Wemple’s latest piece is headlined, “Speak up, April Ryan. Speak up, CNN.” The veteran media critic slammed Ryan and CNN, calling for them to “speak now or relinquish” rights to proclaim themselves First Amendment champions.
Wemple noted that “Ryan has distinguished herself as a vociferous and resilient advocate for press freedom” but her silence regarding a violent incident involving her own bodyguard doesn’t coincide with her on-air persona.
New Brunswick Today editor Charlie Kratovil has called for Ryan to condemn her bodyguard’s behavior, which brought criminal charges. The alleged incident occurred on Aug. 3, when Kratovil said he was covering a speech given by Ryan in New Jersey.
Kratovil said that during the event, he was approached by a man who started to ask him questions. He said that he found out later that the man was Ryan's security guard, Joel Morris.
As Kratovil and Morris began causing a scene, Ryan explained to the crowd, “When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech."
Wemple wrote, “There’s a reason Ryan’s speech was being covered by local media: She is a big deal.”
Kratovil alleged that Morris threatened to "take... down" the camera if he didn't himself and the public relations team began "pressuring" Kratovil to stop recording all while, ironically, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. was praising the American Urban Radio Networks reporter for the "Freedom of the Press" award she received.
“Don’t touch my camera, please. Put that down. Don’t you dare. Put that down, sir," Kratovil told the bodyguard as he followed him out of the room. Security camera footage from the hotel lobby appears to show Morris forcibly pushing Kratovil toward the exit.
As a result of actions captured on video, Morris will be arraigned on Sept. 12 in Superior Court on charges of harassment, assault and theft by unlawful taking.
“I was concerned for my physical safety,” Kratovil previously told Fox News.
Back in August of 2018, Ryan told The Hollywood Reporter that she had received death threats and hired a bodyguard.
“It’s one thing to hire a bodyguard to protect a freedom-of-press advocate from death threats; it’s another thing when the bodyguard undermines freedom of press on behalf of the freedom-of-press advocate,” Wemple wrote.
Meanwhile, Ryan has been a critic of President Trump’s treatment of the media and even penned a 2018 book titled, “Under Fire: Reporting from the front lines of the Trump White House,” which focuses on what it’s like to be a reporter “under fire.”
“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? The Erik Wemple Blog emailed her with a request for an interview. She called and requested to speak off the record. No thanks, we replied,” Wemple wrote.
CNN did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the incident.
Wemple did not hear back, either, but published questions he planned to ask CNN’s public relations department.
"’Given CNN’s various fights for journalistic access and respect during the Trump administration, what does it have to say about this incident? Does it take issue with any of the facts alleged? Ryan appears to say in her address that she didn’t want media types in the audience. How does that square with CNN values?’” Wemple wrote. “The strategy here is to ignore the situation in the hopes that it will blow over. Such an outcome shouldn’t be furnished to CNN and Ryan, given the level of professional hypocrisy at hand.”
The liberal Washington Post critic ended his column with a message to Ryan: “Speak now or relinquish your standing as First Amendment champions.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.