"We do not discuss issues regarding individual members and their status within the Club publicly. But we have well-established procedures regarding our rules and how to proceed when they are violated. It is very important that we maintain a level of decorum at our Luncheons and Newsmaker events consistent with our long-held goal of providing forums for civil discussion and newsgathering. We invite high profile individuals, including leaders across a broad spectrum of disciplines, to come to our podium to speak and to answer reasonable questions. What we do not do is encourage loaded statements on the part of audience members that are posed in the guise of questions, which stand in the way of helping hardworking journalists, including reporters and photographers, to do their jobs. The Club staff did not recommend this Member be temporarily suspended because he asked tough questions – which we encourage, not discourage. Rather, the recommendation was based on an allegation that his behavior was disruptive and unruly, and not for the first time. Most of that was not captured by any cameras. Under our rules this matter will now be impartially considered by a National Press Club Committee to ensure fairness.
The National Press Club has more than 3,300 members who are classified as Journalist members (those who work in the business of journalism on a full time basis for an outlet that is supported by subscription or advertising) and Communicators – those who are in public relations, advocacy or some other field related to journalism. The member in question is classified as a Communicator, not a journalist.
We believe, more than anything, in freedom of speech, and that includes the right of our invited speakers to speak and not be interrupted."