How I Got Barred From Donald Trump’s Chaotic Anti-Fox Rally

Richard Ellis/ZUMA

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Tonight I joined a small but growing club of reporters who have been banned from Donald Trump events. Officially, this is not true. Officially, as Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, told me in an email, Thursday night’s event at Drake University in Des Moines was “well over capacity.” However, every journalist I encountered got in—including a reporter from Canada who was promptly credentialed.

Every reporter, that is, except those who, like me, seem to be banned. Braving the cold to chat with the long line of people waiting to get into Trump’s event, I came across other reporters blacklisted by Trump. There was BuzzFeed‘s McKay Coppins, whom Trump apparently still hasn’t forgiven for this story from two years ago. Coppins had joined up with a German reporter who was also not allowed in. (I’m not sure why.) A student kindly suggested we warm up in the university’s library, where we were joined by the Daily Beast‘s Olivia Nuzzi, also barred from entering.

More Trump events will take place this campaign season, and perhaps Mother Jones reporters’ luck will change. But I’m not holding my breath. One of my colleagues was escorted from a Trump event last month by security. It seems that once Trump and his team have decided someone is not on the list, their word is just about final.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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