Fri, 06/05/2020 – 20:20
An Illinois journalist who broke the story that Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s wife violated the state’s “stay-at-home” order by traveling to the family’s equestrian estate in Wisconsin has sued after she was barred from Pritzker’s coronavirus press briefings.
On Friday, May 15, Jacobson broke the story that Pritzker’s family had traveled to their equestrian estate in Wisconsin amid Illinois’s stay-at-home order – weeks after it was reported that his family was at another estate in Florida. The news raised questions about why the stay-at-home order did not apply to the governor’s family.
On the day of the governor’s next press briefing, Pritzker’s press secretary told Jacobson she was banned from the briefings because she had attended a rally advocating for Illinois to end its lockdown. When questioned by reporters about Jacobson’s exclusion the next day, Pritzker told the press corps that Jacobson could not attend because advocating for Illinois to end its stay-at-home order represents an “extreme position.” The governor went on to say: “That is not a reporter … once upon a time she was a reporter but she proved that she is no longer a reporter.” –AP
— Amy Jacobson (@AmyJacobson) May 16, 2020
The lawsuit, filed by attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center, asks the court to take immediate action to allow Jacobson back into the press briefings.
“Gov. Pritzker has been in the hot seat over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s visible from his reactions to Amy Jacobson’s questions that her reporting made him uncomfortable. But what the governor appears to not understand is that Americans have a right to hold their elected officials accountable, and one of the ways they do this is through a vibrant, free press,” said Liberty Justice Center president and co-founder, Patrick Hughes.
“It’s not up to Gov. Pritzker to pick and choose which reporters can cover him based on how much he agrees with their coverage or their points of view. And keeping reporters out of the room because he disagrees with their line of questioning or point of view is a gross violation of the First Amendment.”
Jacobson has worked for television and radio stations nationwide for over 25 years – the last decade of which has been spent as a reporter and morning show host on Salem Media’s Chicago AM 560 The Answer.
Jacobson has been attending the governor’s COVID-19 press briefings on behalf of the station since April. While some reporters have used the daily briefings to ask softball questions, such as how the governor is holding up, Jacobson has asked notably tough questions. –AP
“The reason we sent Amy to these press briefings is because she is a dogged reporter with a reputation for holding public officials accountable. Over the last two months Amy has done her job well, asking the tough questions that are on the minds of so many of our listeners,” said AM 560 regional VP and general manager, Jeff Reisman. “We’re disappointed that the governor would retaliate against her and take the unprecedented step of blocking her from his press briefings. We had hoped litigation would not be necessary, but it’s imperative for Amy to get back into the room and keep doing her job.”
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Author: Tyler Durden