It’s time for the latest installment in the continuing saga of April Ryan versus the reporter from New Jersey. The CNN contributor and White House correspondent did an interview Sunday with Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter. The stated purpose of the interview was for her to address the controversy in which she finds herself.
The story began on August 3 when a journalist was tossed from a speech Ryan was delivering to an audience in New Jersey. Ryan’s bodyguard took the reporter’s camera to stop his recording of the event after speaking with Ms. Ryan. The reporter, Charlie Kratovil, filed a criminal complaint against the bodyguard on August 21.
Let me first point out that April Ryan, a CNN contributor who is being promoted as a rising star on the network, remained silent on this whole story up until Sunday’s interview. She wasn’t in the studio with Stelter, she did the interview via Skype. Her demeanor was very different than her usual persona. She appeared almost humble and was rather soft-spoken.
Stelter described the incident as “troubling” as he introduced Ryan. To his credit, he asked her right away if she ordered the bodyguard to toss Kratovil after showing a video clip. The clip clearly shows her nodding yes to him after he says something to her. Then the bodyguard goes to Kratovil and interrupts his filming, takes the camera, and evicts Kratovil from the room before he is tossed from the venue. Ryan denied ordering him to do it. She threw the bodyguard under the bus by saying he was just doing his job – protecting her. “I was on the stage at the time.”
That’s an odd excuse, given at the time that she said she doesn’t allow people to record her speeches. Also, it’s obvious that the reporter wasn’t threatening Ryan. He wasn’t approaching the stage or causing a commotion. He was filming the event, including Ryan when it was her turn to deliver her speech.
April Ryan said it was a private event and she had a contract to speak. She said a part of her contract specified that her permission was needed to film or record her speech and Kratovil didn’t have her permission. When Stelter noted that Kratovil had the permission of the event’s host to record, she said it wasn’t her permission. “I don’t want my words twisted.” Is she, as a reporter, admitting that the press twists words? If her words are on tape, how would they be twisted?
She has since terminated her contract with the bodyguard. She refers to him as “former contracted security personnel.” She said that he overreacted when asked. She ended the contractual relationship with him after seeing the tape. She also said the bodyguard violated protocol by leaving the room and escorting Kratovil out, thus leaving her unprotected in the room.
Ryan did as she often does on CNN – she spent most of her time talking about the death threats she has received. “The atmosphere around me is charged.” That might bring about some sympathy for her if it were not true that she herself is a part of inciting a charged atmosphere. The country is deeply divided yet she enjoys making incendiary remarks against the president and his administration as much as any of his opponents. Playing the victim after the fact doesn’t evoke a lot of sympathies.
Steltzer rightfully asked her if she should promote dialogue between the press and public speakers instead of throwing up barriers, especially given that she is a recipient of a Freedom of the Press award. She answered in the affirmative yet stuck to her original excuse – Kratovil didn’t have her personal permission to film or record her speech. She is trying to have it both ways.
The reason why she has been silent up until now about this story is due to the fact that her lawyer advised her to remain silent. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it.