Democrat Socialist candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez banned reporters from attending an event she held last Sunday in the neighborhood of Corona, Queens in New York City.
To create an environment “designed to foster community and restore civic life,” Ocasio-Cortez kept all members of the media from attending her “listening tour” stop, according to the Queens Chronicle.
The event was otherwise open to the rest of the public, and Ocasio-Cortez later tweeted that those present had discussions about “race, immigration, healthcare, disability rights & housing.”
Ocasio2018 Bronx & Queens stops are designed to foster community and restore civic life.
They are intended for lively, compassionate discourse with a diversity of viewpoints. We elevate everyday people to see *themselves* as the leaders of change.
It’s working. ⬇️ https://t.co/FS848iPUjy
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 13, 2018
Just wrapped up an amazing community conversation & listening tour stop in Corona, Queens!
Guess what: we talked about race, immigration, healthcare, disability rights & housing… and everybody was fine! 🇺🇸
Because we can, in fact, handle tough issues together. https://t.co/f3oCheT1t0
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 12, 2018
However, the only people who know exactly what was said in regard to those subjects are the people who were actually present in the room.
Although Ocasio-Cortez said in her tweet that those issues were brought up, she did not elaborate after the event on how she would address those topics if she is elected.
Her decision to bar media from attending her event on Sunday allegedly stems from an incident that happened last week at a Bronx community meeting she held.
According to her campaign manager, Vigie Ramos Rios, Ocasio-Cortez was “mobbed” by members of the media, hounding her with questions, “even though we said no Q&A and no one-on-one (interviews).”
This undesired attention resulted in the media ban at a couple of the most recent stops on her listening tour, however, her campaign spokesman, Corbin Trent, indicated that not all of the upcoming tour stops will have that restriction.
“We wanted to help create a space where community members felt comfortable and open to express themselves without the distraction of cameras and press,” Trent said.
“These were the first set of events where the press has been excluded. This is an outlier and will not be the norm. We’re still adjusting our logistics to fit Alexandria’s national profile.”
Despite assurances to the contrary, some have taken to Twitter to call out this negative portrayal of the media.
Sure sounds like Ocasio campaign is saying press is there to make people uncomfortable, like an enemy or something https://t.co/Wv15nGuR6W
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) August 17, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez’s media ban comes after the congressional candidate returned home to New York City after weeks of campaign appearances for candidates in other states and interviews with major publications and news outlets.
When asked if this behavior was hypocritical on her part, Trent claimed that the campaign was looking to foster a positive relationship with media in her area.
“After our primary victory, the campaign had what we saw as a unique and limited opportunity for Alexandria to use her elevated platform to speak about issues affecting our district to the national media, and to campaign for other progressive candidates around the country,” Trent said.
“By working to get other progressive candidates elected, Alexandria will be securing more national voting power for the people of Queens and the Bronx.”
Ocasio-Cortez herself addressed the talk surrounding her tour stop media ban on Twitter, saying that the ban was designed to protect “vulnerable populations.”
Additionally, with this town hall non-story: it was designed to protect + invite vulnerable populations to PUBLIC discourse: immigrants, victims of domestic abuse, and so on.
We indicated previously that the event would be closed to press. Future ones are open.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 17, 2018
“We indicated previously that the event would be closed to press. Future ones are open,” she said.
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