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Top TV Executives Are Meeting to Figure Out How to Deal with Donald Trump

Trump has made a habit of kicking out journalists from campaign events or denying them access to his campaign altogether.

by Olivia Becker
Nov 23 2015, 1:15pm

Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA

Donald Trump, the business mogul turned reality TV star turned Republican presidential frontrunner, has pissed off pretty much every media outlet attempting to cover his campaign, by restricting reporters' access to his events and revoking press credentials. Now television's top executives are trying to do something about it.

On Monday, executives from the five major television news networks — ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, and Fox News — plan to meet in order to discuss how to deal with what they say has been overly obstructive and hostile behavior from the Trump campaign toward journalists, reported the Washington Post.

The goal of Monday's meeting between the executives is to reach a common agreement with the Trump campaign, including easing restrictions on journalists in the press pen.

Trump's campaign staff has threatened to blacklist journalists if they dare step out of the specially-designated area for members of the media during campaign events. Last week, Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, hassled CNN reporter Noah Gray at an event in Massachusetts, ordering him to get back "inside the pen or I pull your credentials." Lewandowski then reportedly told Trump's spokesperson, Hope Hicks, "Tell Noah, Get back in the pen or he's fucking blacklisted," according to a recording cited by the Post.

A day later, a Buzzfeed reporter also said he was banned from a Trump event in Iowa.

Trump has made a habit out of refusing to grant access to certain outlets or individual reporters that he doesn't like. In addition to Buzzfeed, the Trump campaign has denied credentials to reporters from Univision, the Huffington Post and the Des Moines Register. In August, Trump made headlines for kicking out news anchor Jorge Ramos from a press conference and telling him to "go back to Univision" when Ramos attempted to ask a question about immigration.

The hostility from Trump's campaign to reporters could be an attempt to limit journalists filming or covering activists who come to the events. This happened over the weekend, when a CNN reporter filmed a Black Lives Matter protester being beaten up at a Trump rally.

The activist, a 31-year old man named Mercutio Southall, told CNN that a group of white attendees hurled racial slurs, punched him, and kicked him out of the room after he and other Black Lives Matter activists attempted to disrupt a speech by Trump. The video shows a group of about six white men in a physical altercation with Southall and a bystander shouting, "Don't choke him!"

Trump's campaign issued a statement shortly after the incident saying that they did not condone the violence, but Trump himself apparently thought differently when asked about it on Sunday. "Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing," Trump said on Fox News.

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928