EDITORIAL: Ban us, you big baby

The York Dispatch

Dear Donald Trump,

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to members of the audience during a commercial break at a CNN town hall at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

We have been aware for some time of your tendency to ban from campaign events representatives of certain news organizations with which you disagree.

With the recent addition of The Washington Post to your growing blacklist, however, we can longer remain silent.

It is simply unacceptable for a candidate seeking the highest office in the land — the most important leadership job in the world, if you will — to be playing favorites with the media.

We believe strongly that all responsible news organizations should have equal inaccess to your campaign.

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You, sir, are doing us a great disservice by not including The York Dispatch among those organizations unwelcome at your events.

No, the Dispatch does not have the reach of The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post.

Nor do we have the readership even of regional publications like the Des Moines Register and the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The Dispatch might be small by comparison, but our commitment to asking tough questions, pointing out inconsistencies, flagging outright lies, simply holding candidates accountable for their words and actions is second to none.

We happen to agree with Thomas Burr, the National Press Club president who had this to say after your 45-minute tirade against journalists (who had the gall to question your charitable giving to veterans organizations — giving that didn’t begin in earnest until questions were asked):

"Donald Trump misunderstands — or, more likely, simply opposes — the role a free press plays in a democratic society. Reporters are supposed to hold public figures accountable. Any American political candidate who attacks the press for doing its job is campaigning in the wrong country. In the United States, under our Constitution, a free press is a check on politicians of all parties."

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That’s exactly how we feel — why won’t you ban us?

We also believe you’re acting like a spoiled-rotten child — the petty poster boy for why we need a strong Fourth Estate. (It’s how the grown-ups sometimes refer to journalists, dating back to … oh, never mind.)

A spoiled, foul-mouthed child, we might add. You’re so quick to insult other members of the media for doing their jobs — “sleaze,” “loser,” “scum” — yet never once have you singled out The York Dispatch.

Let ‘er rip, Mr. Trump. We can take it.

We’ve probably heard worse from others who resent a free press, people who know bigger words and use more syllables.

Now, we understand sitting out your campaign events means we might miss a serious, coherent policy speech. Let’s just say, we like our odds.

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The fact is, we caught your act in Harrisburg a month or so back. It was a lot like a Don Rickles bit, if the insult comedian were a little less self-aware.

No, we’re pretty sure we can cover that circus just fine from outside the tent, with the rest of the journalists who refuse to be silenced.

All that said, should you decide to lift your ban and give all members of the media equal access, we would be happy to rescind our request and consider covering a future Trump event in our area.

Unless, of course, it conflicts with the latest Starbucks grand opening, in which case, we’re sure you’ll understand, we would have to weigh the best use of our resources.

Sincerely, and with all the respect you’re due,

The York Dispatch editorial board

(Editor’s note: This opinion piece has been changed to clarify Donald Trump has the demeanor of an over-indulged 2-year-old.)