Eyewitness Says AP Story About Reporter Being Roughed Up At EPA Event Is Overblown

Chris White | Energy Reporter

An Environmental Protection Agency spokesman dismissed reports the agency barred CNN and The Associated Press from an event on contaminants in the country’s drinking water.

The AP published an article Tuesday headlined “The Latest: EPA bars CNN, AP from summit on contaminants” that suggests the agency banned the legacy outlets from the event. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox attempted to stamp down the sensationalist elements in the report. (RELATED: Associated Press Bungles Trump-Mueller Fact Check)

“This was simply an issue of the room reaching capacity, which reporters were aware of prior to the event,” Wilcox said in a statement addressing the situation. AP’s report also contends that security guards “grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and shoved her forcibly out of the EPA building.”

Wilcox claimed he and other EPA public affair officials were unaware of the security guard’s actions. “We were able to accommodate 10 reporters, provided a livestream for those we could not accommodate and were unaware of the individual situation that has been reported,” he said.

The events that unfolded at the summit appear more mundane than sinister, according Wilcox’s retelling. The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Jason Hopkins was at the event and witnessed a reporter trying to gain entry.

“I was there,” Hopkins said. “No one ‘forcibly’ grabbed her. She wasn’t on the list, but felt she was too special for the rules and simply refused to leave, despite being asked numerous times to do so. After ten minutes of stonewalling, the police told her if she didn’t leave they would make her leave.”

Politico reporter Emily Holden reported shortly after the event that she, along with other reporters, were denied entrance into the invite-only summit. She claims the event should have been made public under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which governs how government committees conduct public meetings.

“After the event, I tried to stay. I talked to various staffers for about half an hour about why, contrary to Federal Advisory Committee Act, the meeting would not be open to the public and press,” Holden wrote.

The AP was scrutinized on May 17 for tweeting a story that conservatives believe misreported comments President Donald Trump regarding the El Salvador gang MS-13. (RELATED: Sarah Sanders Doubles Down On Trump’s MS-13 ‘Animals’ Comment)

Neither CNN, AP, nor Politico have responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment about the event.

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