April Ryan is a reporter for American Urban Radio Networks. Last week, after a tense exchange with White House aide Omarosa Manigault, she leveled several accusations.
Ryan claimed that Manigault told her she was among a group of reporters on whom the White House is keeping dossiers with negative information. She claimed that she felt “physically intimidated” by Manigault. She described Manigault’s behavior as threatening enough to be “Secret Serviceable,” meaning that it warranted intervention by law enforcement officers.
Manigault denied Ryan’s accusations. She called them “fake news.”
Now, Manigault says that a White House media employee recorded the encounter. According to Manigault, the recording backs up her contention that Ryan’s version is false.
She says the tape shows that Ryan came into the White House press-staff area “hot,” hurling insults at her:
She came in with an attitude. For her to characterize me as the bully — I’m so glad we have this tape. . .because it’s “liar, liar, pants on fire.”
Ryan is not happy that the the White House has the tape. She complains that she was not aware that the exchange was being recorded and that she never consented to it. “This is freaking Nixonian,” she adds.
As the Washington Post notes, under District of Columbia law there was no requirement that Ryan consent to the recording. It is ludicrous, moreover, to find a reasonable expectation of privacy in an area where White House reporters mingle with White House staffers.
Indeed, portions of the encounter were overheard by, among others, Abby Phillip of the Washington Post and John Roberts of Fox News. (Neither has corroborated Ryan’s claims, with Roberts denying that the event rose to the level of a “confrontation” and saying he did not hear the word “dossier.”)
The taping of a public disagreement is not in any sense Nixonian. If there’s a “Nixon” in this scenario, it is Ryan — if, in fact, a tape exposes her as dishonest.
During the campaign, there were reports that Ryan was taking money from the Clinton campaign to provide favorable coverage. Manigault, formerly Ryan’s friend (according to the Post), emailed her about this allegation.
There’s no doubt that Ryan fawned over Hillary during the campaign. However, she denies being paid by the campaign.
If Ryan is like many reporters, it required no payment for her to provide favorable coverage of Clinton. Now, it requires none for her to provide unfairly negative coverage of President Trump.
In any event, it’s good that a tape exists that (assuming no editing) can prove or disprove Ryan’s allegations against Manigault. And it’s no surprise that Ryan is upset about this.
The press will go to any length — including accepting and reporting on information that the law prohibits being provided to it — to smear a political enemy. But here is a reporter crying foul when the legal recording of a public encounter apparently blows holes in a story she peddled.