Members of the press shouting angrily after Trump exits room pic.twitter.com/KAIfdTJUTO
— Anthony Zurcher (@awzurcher) September 16, 2016
Following Donald Trump’s brief attempt to pin his own birtherism claims on Hillary Clinton, two very important things happened. First, the major media outlets aiming their cameras on the press conference recognized the charade for what it was (free publicity for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.) and called the Republican nominee out. Some, like CNN’s Jake Tapper, went so far as to dub the barely 30-second speech a “political Rick-roll.”
As for the second, it quite literally happened off camera, as Trump’s angry, ostracized press pool decided to destroy all footage of a subsequent hotel tour and refuse coverage. It all began when the campaign pulled the media’s access to the presidential candidate at the last minute and whisked him off stage. Video of the escape, as captured by BBC News reporter Anthony Zurcher, revealed a crowd of angry journalists, who demanded Trump “take some questions.”
Things only got worse when, according to Politico, campaign staffers refused to allow anyone other than still photographers and video cameras into the press pool for a hotel tour subsequently conducted by Trump himself. This was a clear violation of pool rules, which state “any event that is pooled with cameras” must include at least one “pool producer.” This producer, ABC’s Candace Smith, claimed she was “physically restrained” from accompanying the tour.
Journalists from other outlets confirmed the tour’s forced lack of reporters.
Without proper editorial access, the press decided to retaliate and destroy any and all footage of the tour.
In a statement to Politico, Fox News Washington Bureau Chief and current television pool chair Bryan Boughton confirmed the tape’s destruction. In addition, he noted that “pool members chose not to participate in a tour of the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. today because our editorial team member was barred from going on the tour with a videographer.”
In other words, once onsite media realized they were being Rick-rolled by the Trump campaign, they opted out entirely.