Two reporters, one of them the President and Managing Editor of the Midlantic Dispatch were expelled from the 2016 Delaware GOP State Convention without cause.The reporters who were openly displaying press credentials and assigned to cover the news at the 2016 Delaware GOP State Convention, were approached by a Dewey Beach Police officer who asked the them to leave on the grounds they were not credentialed. They were sitting quietly either typing , writing or taking photographs as their trade requires, until the uniformed officer asked them to leave at 1:45pm. The reporters arrived and 12:30pm and were admitted to the convention center. There was no known problem until that time.
The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reads:“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of freedom of speech, OR OF THE PRESS, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
The two reporters, Donald Ayotte and Staff Writer Wolfgang von Baumgart’s civil rights were clearly violated in this instance by the Delaware GOP for unknown reasons. Apparently, the Delaware GOP perceives themselves to be a law unto themselves.
John Fluharty, the Executive Director of the Delaware State GOP, was asked on scene, by Donald Ayotte, the President and Managing Editor of the Midlantic Dispatch, if he was aware of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Mr Fluharty replied that he was not aware of that. Mr. Ayotte replied that he should be very aware of it. Mr. Ayotte has earned a BA in English with a concentration in Journalism from the University of Delaware.
“I don’t understand this action on the part of the Delaware State GOP, “said Ayotte,” We only cover the news, and we were about to endorse a couple of their candidates. Why would they want this kind of bad press while violating the law. It is utter nonsense and stupidity on the part of the the DE State GOP.”
A check of the Delaware GOP website revealed that the need for separate event-related media credentials was not posted.
“This is not exactly the GOP’s smartest PR move.”, said von Baumgart as he left the building.