Ocasio-Cortez faces heat for excluding media from town hall events

Defends event designed for 'vulnerable' attendees

By VERONICA STRACQUALURSI, CNN
Mario Tama/Getty Images

New York U.S. House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a progressive fundraiser on August 2, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faced criticism this week for barring media from attending two of her town hall events in New York that were otherwise open to the public.

Ocasio-Cortez banned media from attending two of her "listening tour" events, Wednesday in the Bronx and Sunday in Corona, Queens, according to local newspaper Queens Chronicle.

"Our community is 50% immigrant. Folks are victims of (domestic violence), trafficking, (and) have personal medical issues," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter on Friday, explaining her decision to shut the media out of her Corona town hall. "This town hall was designed for residents to feel safe discussing sensitive issues in a threatening political time."

She added in a separate tweet that the town hall was designed to "protect" and "invite" vulnerable populations to public discourse and dismissed the criticism as a "non-story."

Ocasio-Cortez also said her campaign had indicated that the town hall would be closed to the news media, adding that future events will be open to the press.

Ocasio-Cortez unseated long-serving Democratic congressman Joe Crowley in New York's June primary and has become a leading figure on the progressive left. She's up against Republican candidate Anthony Pappas, who did not have a challenger in his party's primary, for New York's 14th Congressional District in November.

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