- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2019

A journalist for Empire Magazine complained on Twitter on Thursday evening about being asked by Customs and Border Protection in Los Angeles what he called partisan and anti-press questions.

“Wow. Just… wow. Just went through LAX immigration. Presented my journalist visa and was stopped by the CBP agent and accused of being part of the ‘fake news media,’” James Dyer, who hosts a podcast for Britain’s Pilot TV magazine, wrote on Twitter. “He wanted to know if I’d ever worked for CNN or MSNBC or other outlets that are ‘spreading lies to the American people.’ He aggressively told me that journalists are liars and are attacking their democracy,” he continued in the thread of tweets.

Mr. Dyer, who is British, placed the blame directly on President Trump, saying that the conversation took place “with a framed picture of 45 staring down … Welcome to Trump’s America!”

He said he told the agent he was coming to the U.S. to write about the latest “Star Wars” movie and would “keep the fake news about that to a bare minimum.”

In later additions to his thread — which went viral with 6,700 retweets in less than three hours — Mr. Dyer said that while “yes, it did happen,” he acknowledged his account was unverifiable. He implied this was in part due to his surprise and relatively trivial nature of the affront.

“No I wasn’t mistreated or detained in any way. Questions at customs are to be expected while fingerprinting etc is going on. It’s just the fake news/MSM diatribe that was surprising and inappropriate.”

He also said he neither got the agent’s name nor made a complaint at the Los Angeles airport.

“As I said, he didn’t mistreat me so while I despair that an official made these comments and that these troubling views have clearly been so normalised, I didn’t take it any further. (I just moaned about it on twitter!)” he wrote.

While Mr. Dyer downplayed the incident a little, he did not downplay its importance in his eyes.

“This isn’t news but the malignant affect this presidency has had on what was once a beacon of democracy and freedom is absolutely chilling,” he said.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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