Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo en route to Brussels for NATO meeting, April 2018.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo en route to Brussels for NATO meeting, April 2018. (Photo: U.S. State Department Twitter)

Among Questions Raised by Pompeo's Faith-Based Only Press Call: 'How Many Muslim Reporters Invited?'

"Usually we see a transcript or at least know who was invited. Why not this time?"

Eoin Higgins

A secretive State Department briefing restricted to all but faith-based reporters is raising questions among reporters about access and press freedoms.

On Monday evening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a phone briefing for reporters from the religious press. Secular news agencies—including the main networks and newspapers—were not invited to participate in the call.

The State Department said it will not release the names of the attendees or transcripts from the meeting. 

Per CNN:

Despite repeated inquiries and complaints from members of the press corps who are based at the department, the State Department on Monday night said they would not be providing a transcript of the call, a list of faith-based media outlets who were allowed to participate or the criteria to be invited.

Michele Kelemen from NPR wondered why the department was being so secretive: "usually we see a transcript or at least know who was invited. Why not this time?"

In a statement provided to CNN about the call, the department argued that there was nothing inherently out of place in agency regulations about the Monday briefing.

"Department press briefings, teleconferences on a myriad of policy issues, briefings and sprays by the Secretary of State and other officials," the department said, "are open to any interested domestic or international press."

"Other engagements are more targeted or designed for topic, region, or audience-specific media," the statement added. "This has always been the case."

According to MSNBC reporter Andrea Mitchell, however, that isn't exactly true. 

"Can't recall religion being a test before for journalists," Mitchell said in a tweet.

BuzzFeed reporter Dominic Holden asked the department exactly how targeted the event was, he said, and how narrowly defined was "faith based media." Were there Muslim reporters there, Holden wondered?

"They avoided direct questions," said Holden.

 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·


Health Minister Says 'Highly Transmissible' Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

In South Africa's worst-affected province, children under the age of five now make up the second-largest group being admitted to hospitals.

Julia Conley ·


Groups Tell UN Food Agency to Ditch 'Toxic Alliance' With Pesticide Association

"This partnership with CropLife is in direct conflict with FAO's mandate as a U.N. institution to fulfill human rights to health, adequate food, clean water and environment, and safe working conditions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo