Earlier today Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson made an appearance at the Monona Terrace in Madison to tout Republican president nominee Mitt Romney’s plan to strengthen the middle-class. Despite the event being open to the press, WTDY News reporter Dylan Brogan was barred from the event and escorted from the building by Madison Police.
Brogan was barred from the event by a Romney campaign staffer, who told Brogan she was acting on the orders of Ben Sparks, Romney’s Wisconsin Communication Director.
Once Sparks arrived, Brogan was told that was not allowed to cover the event with Sen. Johnson because WTDY morning talk show host Sly in the Morning protested a previous campaign event for Mitt Romney in Janesville.
“He reflects poorly on you, you work for that organization, and you suffer the consequences,” Sparks said. “That’s how it’s going to work. Now we’re not going to discuss this anymore. You cannot cover the event.”
Sparks went on to say that Brogan was “guilty by association.”
When Brogan asked if he could wait outside the room where Johnson was speaking, he was told by a Madison Police officer and a staffer from Monona Terrace to leave the building.
“I can physically take you out, if that’s what you want,” the officer told him.
You can listen to audio of the exchange between Brogan, the unnamed Romney staffer, and Ben Sparks below.
It’s notable that back in June, the “nonpartisan” folks over at Wisconsin Reporter breathlessly reported one of their beat reporters was barred from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s annual convention, yet curiously there hasn’t been a peep from anyone at Wisconsin Reporter about the Romney campaign barring a journalist from attending an event that was open to the press.
In response to the incident, WTDY News Director Amy Barrilleaux issued the following statement:
“It’s unfortunate that our reporter was singled out and prevented from covering Sen. Johnson’s speech, when his only offense was walking into the building with a press pass bearing the WTDY logo. All other local media wishing to cover the event were allowed in. Decisions made in our newsroom are not influenced by WTDY talk show host Sly in the Morning.”