Stranger Reporter Barred from Press Conference by Wash. State Attorney General

Staffers for Washington state attorney general Rob McKenna attempted to bar The Stranger reporter David “Goldy” Goldstein from attending a press conference on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

McKenna was one of the state attorneys general who had sued to overturn the health care law. Goldstein routinely called McKenna a “crappy lawyer” in his coverage. All of which set the stage for last week’s showdown:

“They are physically blocking me from entering,” Goldy told me by phone, seven minutes before the 11:30 a.m. press conference was scheduled to begin. A spokesman for McKenna, Dan Sytman, had told Goldy a few minutes before that Goldy wasn’t a journalist and then blocked him from entering. A McKenna staffer had also grabbed Goldy by the shoulders and turned him away from the door.

After an attorney for The Stranger got involved, McKenna’s staff relented and allowed Goldstein inside.

News editor Dominic Holden writes:

Let’s pause here to appreciate the irony in all of this: Part of the reason McKenna is so angry at Goldy is that Goldy keeps calling McKenna a crappy lawyer. McKenna himself seemed determined to prove Goldy right yesterday: Having just lost a lawsuit before the US Supreme Court, McKenna picked a fight with Goldy (and The Stranger) that ended with McKenna’s own lawyer being forced to acknowledge that barring reporters from a press conference is against the law in Washington state.

Say what you will about Goldy, his partisan allegiances, or his criticisms of McKenna: Goldy is a working journalist. He’s also a member of the general public. As such, he’s entitled to enter official functions held by public officials in public facilities. And Goldy knows that. The Stranger‘s lawyer knows that. But Rob McKenna doesn’t know that.

Because Rob McKenna is a crappy lawyer.

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