The Gateway Pundit has covered national and state-wide elections for nearly 20 years. Over the past two decades The Gateway Pundit has grown into one of the largest and most trusted conservative news outlets in America today. We pride ourselves for providing the news and issues ignored by the rest of the institutionalized and often dishonest mainstream media.
This year, Maricopa County Arizona instituted a new requirement that journalists must obtain a permit from county officials to attend Maricopa County press conferences.
This year, Maricopa singled The Gateway Pundit out for exclusion – based on their subjective opinion that our reporting does not meet their standards for “quality.” The County Officials do not appreciate anyone challenging them and actually performing real investigations on the largest Arizona county.
The Gateway Pundit went to court on November 17th to argue our case before Obama appointed Judge John Tuchi.
On the Day before Thanksgiving Tuchi released his opinion denying our First Amendment rights.
His decision to allow the county to block reporters from the room who are performing real journalism sets a dangerous precedent. The opinion was written by a judge who clearly seemed more interested in supporting a flimsy narrative that TGP is not “real journalism” than upholding the First Amendment.
For the record, The Gateway Pundit is often the largest news outlet in the room at the Maricopa County meetings.
You can read the entire case file for yourself below.
Here is our initial complaint against Maricopa County.
Here is Maricopa County’s response to our filing and brief.
Here is the transcript from the court proceedings on November 17, 2022, in front of Obama-appointed Judge John Tuchi.
And here is Obama Judge John Tuchi’s opinion denying The Gateway Pundit our First Amendment rights.
The Gateway Pundit is going to appeal the decision on an emergency basis. We understand that doing so just might not result in the 9th Circuit moving fast enough for us.
However, we have a responsibility as a member of the press to defend the First Amendment from this clearly biased judge.
Imagine this power in the hands of someone you dislike — imagine if a conservative government official decided that it didn’t like CNN’s coverage or methods, so it excluded CNN from the press briefings.
In this case, we were not so lucky. But, we have faith in the process and we have faith that the 9th Circuit will overturn this travesty.
** This is going to cost us to fight this. Please help TGP defend free speech in America and donate to our Defense Fund here.
The District Court’s opinion is riddled with significant errors in legal reasoning. For example, one of the arbitrary press pass criteria the Gateway Pundit challenged was a ban on “conflicts of interest.” While the Court tacitly acknowledged that Maricopa County’s interpretation of the meaning of “conflict of interest” was subjective, the Court nevertheless found that the County was justified in creating the criteria because other government entities – including the Arizona Senate’s Media Rules – also employed the same subjective standard.
Notably, the Court also overlooked evidence that the Arizona Senate had granted a press pass to Gateway Pundit’s Jordan Conradson, further evidencing the complete arbitrariness of Maricopa County’s criteria.
The Court’s finding is absurd on its face because under such a vague and arbitrary standard, no media entity should be granted a press pass. For example, the media routinely run political ads for candidates, and this obviously generates income. But this common practice should ban nearly every media entity because accepting such ad revenue could be considered a conflict of interest, biasing their reporting of the election.
As another example, the Court simultaneously found that the County did not have a right to set up criteria for ethical reporting – implicitly because this would be a content-based restriction on speech, which is forbidden under the First Amendment. And yet, in the same breath, the Court held that the County nonetheless has a legitimate interest in “evaluating reporters’ practices” to “further the County’s legitimate interest in disseminating accurate information to the public.”
The Court not only contradicts itself, but it overlooks a critical hole in its reasoning. Implicit in this holding is the notion that the government alone (a) knows what “accurate” information is, and (b) can be trusted to attempt to convey “accurate” information without critical and diverse media oversight. Neither the public nor the media are obliged to accept government statements as the accurate or truthful. One might say that the press has a duty to challenge the “accuracy” of government statements.
We will be seeking amicus support from organizations across the political spectrum. We know this will be a hard sell to left-leaning press organizations because they are probably delighted to see TGP locked out of the press room. However, it would be short-sighted for them to let that cloud their judgment. If Maricopa can do this to us, then Ron DeSantis can do it to them. And we wind up with a “free press” that is nothing more than “government-approved opinions only.”
We call on any citizens who care about the First Amendment to contact us to get involved. We believe that the soul of the Free Press Clause is at risk. We will not rest until that important right is preserved — both for us, and for those we might disagree with.
Politics aside, the First Amendment is a neutral principle. And we wish to see the 9th Circuit make it clear that this applies to conservative press, liberal press, religious press, even the Communist press. Without that, all press conferences will simply become public relations events for the government – with government-approved media the only ones who can report on government action.
That is not America.
** Please help TGP defend free speech in America and donate to our Defense Fund here.
**Contact us if you would be interested in filing an amicus brief. firstname.lastname@example.org