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Editorial - Getting Ejected At Zeldin Kick-Off



I am at a loss for words. Last night I was ejected from the Lee Zeldin kick-off rally, which I WAS INVITED TO, without cause. Yes, I was invited to attend the rally by the Zeldin Campaign and was credentialed by the Zeldin Campaign.  Upon arrival I was told to go anywhere I wanted to take photos, again by the Zeldin campaign. I stood in the same spot, with my credentials plainly in sight, for roughly an hour and a half before, out of the blue, I was told to leave…  without an explanation. I was forced to climb over a rope to get to the path leading to a door (one woman sneered and said “bye bye” as I walked past).  Once out the door and in a back yard area, I was mocked by a group of people. A man upset that I was taking photos smacked my camera and I was told by security to leave the Elks Club premises. All while I was wearing the press badge supplied by the Zeldin campaign and telling everyone I was an invited press person.


I am confident that my behavior was professional. This was not a ‘question and answer’ press event.  The press was there as observers.  I took photos, and for approximately one and a half hours I listened to guest speakers talk about Lee Zeldin and their impression of his work ethic, his belief in America and his relationship with Donald Trump. This was a rally for supporters meant to energize, create positive thoughts and a “can do” attitude about this candidate.


Here’s what the speakers didn’t say, and you should now know about Lee Zeldin. He, through his staff, will discriminate, try to embarrass, and arbitrarily have the invited press removed without benefit of an explanation and without cause. Another thing the speakers didn’t mention about Lee Zeldin was that his love of country falls short of the 1st Amendment rights of free speech or free press. Was the Press being invited to cover his event and then being ejected, (David Ambro of The Smithtown News was also ejected), for the purpose of showing his disregard for the work journalists do?  Was it intended as a preemptive strike against future work? This behavior was an attempt to taint the belief in journalist objectivity - after all, he can say that he had to have the Press ejected. Imagine a news article written about Lee Zeldin now…  imagine how the story is perceived by someone who learns that the writer was thrown out of his kick-off rally. Will the writer be seen as a fair source of information?

These are challenging times. Elected officials are taking unique steps to quiet the voices of those who challenge or question them. For our democracy to flourish a strong press is necessary. I will continue to do all I can to maintain a high ethical standard and I call on you to push back on abuses like this.

Pat Biancaniello and this is Smithtown Matters

Reader Comments (12)

I would of called the SCPD and ACLU on Zeldin and his campaign for their behavior. Trumpism means that you are an enemy. I am a US Army Veteran and face the same issue on Facebook. I took an Oath 41 years ago, upo n enlisting into the Army, stand by that Oath.
Fri, June 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Weiss
The press is being targeted daily by the far right! Since congress isn't doing its job as a co-equal part of the government, the courts, journalists and the people are needed to keep the far right from taking over and taking away our rights as citizens. Inviting the press to an event, just to kick them out as a show of power is disgraceful!

Do you know who was also invited by Zeldin and welcomed to speak? Zeldin's campaign kickoff featured former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and ex-White House "deputy assistant" to the President and Breitbart Editor, Sebastian Gorka. We all know who Spicer is and that he was forced out of his job when it became exceedingly harder for him to cover up for trump's lies. Gorka, is a little less known and was also forced to leave whatever he was doing that he got taxpayer money for at the white House. He is a fugitive from Hungry and a a Holocaust denier.

We need the press at these events... We need transparency from our candidates... Zeldin owes an apology to the journalists he kicked out of this event last night! Enough is enough!
Fri, June 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSandy T
I appreciate the courage and fortitude of those in the press who continue to put themselves into uncomfortable and at times seemingly unsafe situations to serve the American people. Our Democracy cannot survive without a free press. Our truly objective, quality press sources will outlast those individuals who seek to destroy our Democratic institutions for their own purposes. Thank you for your courage and your coverage. Keep it up!!!
Fri, June 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterElaine Turley
Was Zeldin's Campaign Office contacted for comment?
Fri, June 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterN Val
emails and phone call. The response was through email why didn't I identify myself when I was standing near protester. I wasn't standing near protester. If I remember correctly there were people sitting beside me for most of the event. I was standing in the middle area. Regardless I told everyone (loudly) who I was and that I was a member of the invited press.
Fri, June 29, 2018 | Registered Commenter.
I think this was probably a publicity stunt... like at Trump’s rallies. But it clearly shows Lee Zeldin in a horrible light. We must rid ourselves of this horrible representative.
Fri, June 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMary Vienneau
My wife and I were also invited to this event by robo-call by the former WH press secretary. What you experienced is one of the reasons we have ended our 53 year registration as republicans (small "r" intentional). As long as Mr. Zeldin and his spineless cohorts in our Congress continue to grovel at the feet of the current WH squatter, we will NOT be supporting any republican candidates for ANY office Federal or State.
Sat, June 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterWJM
Objectivity has become subjective in some people's minds. They will believe what they want to believe and dismiss that with which they disagree. They tend not to concern themselves with objectivity. They are only concerned that the narrative they support is reinforced. As long as the free press endeavors to present the real facts, the rest of us can endeavor to stay informed.

When it comes to the far right, media objectivity has already been dismissed because it presents facts that don't wholly support their preferred narrative. To the far right, the free press is not objective because it is a fair source of information. Yes, I wrote that sentence as intended. In other words, "objective" and "fair" are no longer defined, by the far right, in the same way the rest of us would define them. To them, if something is not preferential toward their narrative then it cannot be considered to be objective or fair. But, for the most part, 'objective' and 'fair' are not things with which they are particularly concerned or even make many references toward; so it's not something of which we should strive to meet their expectations. Expect the criticism because it is objective and fair.

Our greatest concern should not be those who shape and spin a false narrative, our greatest concern should be those who believe in it.
Sat, June 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJames Olson
Pat, sorry to hear that you were treated this way. For some politicians, freedom of the press means that they control what you say, who you talk to, etc. Best of the luck in the future with this jerk and his campaign.
Sat, June 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPamS
Pat, I am so sorry you had to experience that. I am however grateful for your report. Keep up the good work!
Sun, July 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlexander Paykin

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