Reporter roughed up; backlash ensues.

O’Rielly, Donnelly, Udall, Hassan

John M. Donnelly, a reporter for CQ Roll Call, was reportedly “pinned” by security guards while trying to ask questions of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly after a press conference last week at the National Press Club. The event drew an immediate and angry response from the National Press Club, and now, Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) have written to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calling on him and the Commission to revisit the agency’s security policies and staff training in the wake of the incident. O’Rielly tweeted his observation of the incident, saying, “John, I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff. I didn’t see anyone put a hand on you. I’m sorry this occurred.” Donnelly replied, “I appreciate the apology. But ‘put themselves’ makes it sound dainty. They pinned me.” In their letter, Senators Udall and Hassan termed the incident “a new low point in a disturbing trend.” They continue, “Given the FCC’s role as the primary authority for communications law and its regulatory role with respect to the media, the FCC should set a sterling example when it comes to supporting the First Amendment and freedom of the press.”