If elections officials get their way, freedom of the press is a dead letter in Maricopa County, Arizona. During the 2022 midterm election, county officials decided to deny a press pass to a reporter from The Gateway Pundit, an online news site, preventing him from attending election press conferences or visiting the voting tabulation center. County officials justified the ban by arguing the reporter wasn’t “objective” and was too political in his reporting. The real reason: Maricopa County elections officials disagreed with The Gateway Pundit’s prior reporting, which was extremely critical of how they handled other elections.
But the government doesn’t get to establish itself as the arbiter of objectivity, nor as the gatekeeper of truth—especially when it comes to politics. When Maricopa County elections officials did so anyway, they discriminated against The Gateway Pundit and its reporter based on their viewpoint. That’s a violation of the First Amendment. On December 16, 2022, together with the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project, FIRE filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit explaining that whether the government seeks to require objectivity or to regulate truth, the result is the same: both are unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.