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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane-based African-American paper originally denied credentials to Trump event

May 6, 2016 Updated Sat., May 7, 2016 at 9:15 a.m.

UPDATE (9:15 a.m., Saturday, May 7): About four hours before Donald Trump’s rally was scheduled to begin, the Black Lens received media credentials to cover the event.

The Black Lens, an African-American newspaper, was denied media credentials to cover Donald Trump’s Spokane campaign stop.

“My gut says that it has to do with the fact that the name of my paper is the Black Lens,” said Sandra Williams, the paper’s editor. “Based on the rhetoric that he’s been spewing around the country, it would make sense that he did not want a black newspaper covering what he says in his rallies. That’s the assumption that I’m making.”

The email sent to Williams said, “During the 2016 Presidential Primary race, the Donald J. Trump Campaign fully recognizes and respects all media but due to various venue sizes, media space, and safety we must limit the number of credentialed media and give priority to our national and local outlets. We appreciate your understanding.”

The Black Lens is published monthly and has a circulation of 1,000. Williams and a photographer are the publication’s only staff members.

NAACP President Naima Quarles-Burnley called Trump and his campaign “antithetical to the civil rights movement,” and believes denying the Black Lens access is consistent with his overall message.

“While I’m outraged, I’m not totally surprised because they don’t want media that is going to be critical,” she said. “He seems to be advocating for restrictive rights and not allowing for an appreciation of people who have different religions or different cultures.”

Williams said she had hoped to attend the Saturday event so her readers would know what Trump had to say. She said she’ll still attend, even though she won’t be allowed inside. Williams said she emailed the Trump campaign asking them to justify their decision to deny her credentials.

“I think it’s essential that diverse communities hear what he has to say,” she said.

The Trump campaign didn’t return calls seeking comment Friday.

Williams received media credentials to earlier campaign stops by Democrat Bernie Sanders and by former President Bill Clinton, campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Local television stations received credentials to the Trump event, as did The Spokesman-Review. The Inlander, according to editor Jacob Fries, requested and received one credential for a photographer. The Coeur d’Alene Press did not request credentials.

Earlier this year, the Trump campaign denied media credentials to news outlets considered unfavorable to the candidate, including the Huffington Post and the Des Moines Register.

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