Video: Freedom of the Press Advocate April Ryan Explains Why She Puts Limits on the Freedom of the Press

CNN political analyst and American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan speaks on the "Reliable Sources" program with Brian Stelter - 8/25/19. Screen grab via CNN.

April Ryan

CNN political analyst and American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan speaks on the “Reliable Sources” program with Brian Stelter – 8/25/19. Screen grab via CNN.


CNN’s April Ryan has finally gone on the record after a disturbing incident that took place over three weeks ago involving New Brunswick Today journalist Charlie Kratovil, Ryan’s bodyguard Joel Morris, and Ryan herself.

To recap: Kratovil alleges that Morris assaulted him during an event where Ryan was the keynote speaker. Ryan is seen nodding on video to Morris prior to the bodyguard taking action against Kratovil’s equipment and then Kratovil himself, who Morris roughly manhandles out the door of a hotel lobby minutes later. Not long after the incident, Kratovil pressed charges against Morris and a criminal summons was filed against the bodyguard.

Ryan appeared Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with media firefighter Brian Stelter, who of course treated her to softball questions during the entire segment. It was Ryan’s first interview since the August 3rd incident, and the interview happened just days after Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple slammed CNN and Ryan both for refusing to publicly comment to date on what happened.

Stelter teed up the interview by first reminding viewers that Ryan had a bodyguard in the first place because of the alleged threats she has received from criticizing President Trump. He then briefly discussed the incident before asking Ryan if she had a hand in Kratovil’s removal.

Here’s how the interview went down (bolded emphasis added by me):


RYAN: Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the first person who wants to get a story out being on T.V. or radio. And the only reason why I’ve been quiet is because of a threat, a threat of lawsuits, and my attorney said I can’t speak. But here’s the thing. This is not about suppressing the press. My body of work stands for me. And no, I did not order anyone to do anything.

At that moment what you saw was my then-bodyguard who was concerned with my safety come to me and say stop talking. They were about 100 feet away from me. I didn’t know what was going on or what was said. I was on the stage at the time.

STELTER: And that’s tough when you’re on stage and you’re not sure what’s going on. But why not have cameras at your speeches? What’s the problem with having a person videotape your speech?

RYAN: Well, you know, this was a private event for a non-profit organization in New Brunswick New Jersey. Our contract stated that if someone wanted to come and film or if they wanted to interview me, they had to ask for permission. There was no request for permission and permission was not granted.

Now, if they would have asked for permission, it would have been granted. And the reason why I do this, one it’s standard in the industry, and two because I don’t want my words twisted.

STELTER: Do you regret that the bodyguard put his hands on this reporter? To me, that’s completely inappropriate.

RYAN: Well, again, my former contracted security personnel thought I guess I suspect was concerned for my safety.

STELTER: So maybe he just overreacted. Are you saying he just overreacted?

RYAN: Yes, yes.


Note how Stelter had to ask her twice if the bodyguard overreacted before she responded. Also, Ryan’s excuses don’t add up. It doesn’t get better throughout the course of the interview as she continues to play the victim card, suggesting she has to have things a certain way because she (allegedly) frequently receives death threats because of her adversarial relationship with the White House:

RYAN: And on the date after this, we reviewed this, and we decided not to contract with that organization anymore. But again, I believe, in my humble opinion or I assume that he was concerned about my safety.

STELTER: And you have spoken in the past about facing death threats more than one. Can you tell us you know, anything more about that because I know that’s sensitive?

RYAN: It’s a very sensitive situation. I do receive death threats.

I continue to receive death threats. The atmosphere around me is charged. And that’s one of the reasons why I assume he may have overreacted because he was concerned for my safety. But it doesn’t make you feel good to get a death threat and have to send it to the FBI and local authorities.

Stelter then explains the role of a journalist to Freedom of the Press award winner Ryan, who then pivots back to the “permission” excuse:

STELTER: Isn’t it concerning though that you’re out there speaking privately that you know — I remember, when I was giving a speech at a college and a couple of Infowars reporters showed up, and they were asking me a bunch of questions. I just thought the best thing to do was just to talk to them rather than try to ignore them or swat away their camera because that’s not our job. Our job is not to stop people from asking questions, it’s to help them ask questions.

RYAN: Right. And see that’s the issue. If someone asked for permission, I would have granted it. But sometimes your words are twisted by people who don’t necessarily understand you or what you’re saying or who have an agenda. And that kind of thing can charge the atmosphere to create hate against me and death threats.


Watch the full segment below:

Note how Ryan says she didn’t “order” anyone to do anything and that she didn’t know what was going on, but then a few seconds later said journalists are only allowed to cover her events if they have express permission from her personally.

So presumably if a journalist isn’t authorized by her to cover her events, they are going to be removed per her protocol. So how else does she expect them to leave the building? Voluntarily? Most journalists are not going to just meekly walk out when told to because they know their rights. So the only option left is that they have to be forcibly removed.

Ryan knows this, yet she’s feigning ignorance, playing the victim card, and blaming her bodyguard for doing what was in all likelihood what he was supposed to do to any journalist who Ryan believed did not have permission to cover her event.

By the way, the security service is no longer contracted out by Ryan to protect her during events. Not because of what Morris did to Kratovil, but because he left her side during the course of the event.

I guess she expected someone else to do her dirty work in throwing out a credentialed journalist.


— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –


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