The National Press Club prides itself as a champion of free press and regularly hosts press conferences for the world’s most unsavory figures, but this didn’t stopped them from shutting down the so-called alt-right.
The Press Club took the unprecedented step of breaking its contract to censor a panel discussion on the “Alt Right” hosted by the National Policy Institute (NPI). The event, which will still take place at a location to be announced, will include NPI president Richard Spencer, American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor, and VDARE.com editor Peter Brimelow.
** Press release here.
** Danger and Play has more here.
NPI and the Press Club signed a contract to hold the event on Friday September 9. On September 7, a Press Club marketing official called Mr. Spencer and cancelled the contract due to unspecified “security” concerns. When Mr. Spencer offered to hire additional security, they still insisted on cancelling.
In 2007 the National Press Club hosted Holocaust denier Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to Mr. Spencer,
“The Press Club’s security concerns are likely a pretext to censor our views. Regardless, the heckler’s veto is no excuse for censorship. NPI has held three events at the Press Club with no incidents involving our members or guests. The Press Club is giving a mob–real or imagined– the power to shut down views they disagree with.”
Jared Taylor echoed Mr. Spencer’s concerns, noting
“It’s a sad day for American journalism when the Washington Press Club cancels a press conference scheduled for its First Amendment Lounge. It is true that we do not have government censorship; we don’t need it. Corporate and college speech codes together with social media have so cowed most Americans that they, themselves, do the job the Soviet commissars used to do.’
Peter Brimelow Added,
“The National Press Club’s behavior does not shock me. It’s perfectly in line with the dishonest journalists they represent, who cover for those in power and try to shut down dissident views.”
The Press Club’s behavior is unprecedented in its 109-year history and violates its self-professed principles. When NPI held a conference in 2015, Press Club Executive Director Bill McCarren called the Club an “open forum.”
Slate’s Betsy Woodruff reported the director could not “think of an example of a time when the club has refused to rent out space to a group or speaker.”
Hypocritically, just today, the Press Club’s president Thomas Burr condemned Donald Trump’s past refusal to allow full access to the press as “offensive to the very idea of a free press and our democracy.”
Richard Spencer responded, “Burr’s attack on Trump invalidates any argument that the Press Club’s private status justifies its censorship. Donald Trump’s campaign is not a private organization, but Burr still believes that the press have a right to attend his rallies.
Despite this unprecedented efforts, the organizers will hold the event at a location to be announced. Journalists and other interested may sign up here to receive the location.