Mayor de Blasio is such a big supporter of the free press that he physically had two bodyguards removed a certified post-reporter who had the audacity to ask him a question in public on Sunday.

The unusual muzzle unfolded at the start of the annual Manhattan annual Dominican Day parade, where reporter de Blasio's response to the newspaper's front page looked for his government's numerous meetings with lobbyists.

It also came after Hizzoner announced on Sunday national television: "I believe in free, strong media with different views – I will defend them with everything I have."

Kevin Sheehan is blocked by Bill de Blasio's security after trying to ask the mayor questions.
Kevin Sheehan is blocked by Bill de Blasio's security after trying to ask the mayor questions.Brigitte Stelzer

Only two hours later, after de Blasio had cut a ribbon to launch the parade and stretched out for photos near West 37th Street and Sixth Avenue, the reporter asked him to tell the story of "A Town For Sale" to comment.

Instead of answering or even declining the question, the mayor watched as two members of his NYPD security detail approached the reporter – who was wearing a police-issued press pass around his neck – with one who grabbed his shoulder and led him away.

"Kevin, you have to go, you can not be here," said the plainclothes officer.

Both bodyguards escorted the reporter about half a block away, where a member of the NYPD's public information office, Officer Brian Magoolaghan, told him, "Come on, Kevin, no stunts today."

City Hall had previously refused to discuss records showing that civil servants had held 136 meetings with lobbyists in just three months this year.

The incident was reminiscent of a recent month when the White House barricaded a CNN reporter from a rose garden event for addressing "inappropriate" questions to President Trump the day before at the Oval Office.

These questions secretly included sound recordings of Trump made by his then personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and Trump's invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House.

On Sunday, de Blasio appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" to discuss an interview with the Guardian, a liberal British newspaper, last week criticizing Post's parent company, News Corp, and its founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch ,

Brian Stelter, the presenter, has urged de Blasio to criticize The Post, which the mayor has termed the "right-hand wing."

"Why do you feel that your job is to call out a newspaper because you do not like the content?" Stelter asked.

"Because I think that's not enough … It does not happen the way I think it should," de Blasio replied.

De Blasio's spokesman referred to the incident at the NYPD parade, which wrote in an e-mail: "The Department takes appropriate and necessary measures to protect dignitaries, including the mayor of New York City."

Additional coverage by Ben Feuerherd


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