Politicians have been openly feuding with the media for decades. President Trump has taken that fight to new levels, but there are others under him, too, employing some aggressive tactics. A Democratic senator got into a heated exchange with a reporter Thursday during a public appearance. She then called the police and reported the reporter for making threats.
Florida Senator Daphne Campbell was appearing at a North Miami Beach Duffy’s, Thursday, when the incident occurred.
“Campbell, a Democrat who is running for reelection this month in Senate District 38, called police at 1:24 p.m. after participating in a debate with her Democratic opponent, Jason Pizzo,” The Miami Herald reports. “A responding North Miami Beach officer who declined to give his name explained that police had been called by Campbell about threats made by a woman in a floral dress — a clear reference to the attire of Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey.”
The police responded, though no arrests were made.
The Social Citizens of Southeast Florida, which hosted the debate, seemed genuinely shocked by the arrival of the police. Their president, Dennis Stubbolo, spoke with the Herald and said he “was shocked.”
“I did not see anything go wrong. I was there. I don’t know where that came from.”
The Herald also tried to follow up with Campbell, but she had her attorney speak with the paper, instead. The attorney claimed ignorance of the incident and refused to comment further.
“Campbell, who since first being elected to the state House in 2010 has been the subject of a number of Herald articles about Medicaid fraud investigations involving her family business and alleged ethical missteps, has accused the newspaper of racism and bias in favor of Pizzo. Her campaign complained this summer about Blaskey appearing at her home while investigating whether the senator lived outside her district in contravention of Florida Senate rules,” the Herald adds.
What the Herald considers investigative reporting, others see as intrusive. The paper tried to follow up Campbell, but a man who answered he phone told them off: “You guys keep on harassing her all the time and she’s tired of you guys,” he said.
The call to police came after Campbell had reportedly refused to answer any questions from Blaskey. She told the reporter to email any questions she might have. Blaskey continued to talk to the other constituents, and that’s when Campbell made the call to police.
Campbell has a history of calling the police on journalists. She called them on Rich Robinson, publisher of RISE back in May.
“Robinson said he filmed Campbell walking to her car from the sidewalk following the public meeting in order to get what’s known as B-roll in television parlance for future stories about Campbell,” The Herald writes.
“State Senator Daphne Campbell called the police on me for committing an act of journalism,” Robinson told the paper.
Richard Hirsch, the Miami Herald’s Managing Editor, is unrepentant. “Asking a public official questions in a public place is perfectly appropriate,” he told his paper.