Michael Gartner: Trump "Loopy" and "Dumb" to Bar Reporters

Aug 14, 2016

Former Des Moines Register editor and NBC news executive Michael Gartner is weighing in on the Donald Trump campaign’s practice of denying press credentials for prominent news organizations.

How many dumb things can you do and still survive?

Gartner calls it “loopy”, but he’s downplaying the effect of the policy.

“Any reporter who's worth her salt can get into anything,” Gartner said.

However, a Washington Post reporter was recently barred from a rally for vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence even as a regular citizen.    

Reporters from the Des Moines Register to the Washington Post have ended up on the list. 

But didn't Nixon do that?

“The danger in that is to make sure the person who's been barred or the institution that's been barred doesn’t overreact and start writing unfair stories,” Gartner said. 

Gartner says any other campaign might be hurt by banning reporters, but he says the Trump campaign  is playing by a different set of rules. 

Gartner says that might be a more serious matter if Trump becomes president.

“But didn't Nixon do that?” Gartner asks.   “Nixon had the enemies list that had reporters on it.  Nixon wouldn't call on certain people at the press conferences.” 

Gartner is now owner of the Iowa Cubs baseball team.    His journalism career also includes front-page editor of the Wall Street Journal and editor of the Ames Daily Tribune, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing.