White House Versus the Press: Who Attacked the First Amendment?

That’s enough. Put down the mike.

It was the journalistic shot heard around the world. On Nov. 8, President Donald Trump got into a heated argument with CNN’s Jim Acosta. Acosta first started by asking Trump about his use of language about the caravan of immigrants coming from South America, which Trump called an invasion. Trump responded by holding his ground, throwing back some snarky comments and saying no more further questions. But Acosta didn’t stop. A White House Intern stood up to take his mike from him, but he kept a firm grip. From there Acosta brought up the Russia investigation, to which Trump said he wasn’t concerned about it because it was a “hoax” and that was enough questions. Acosta protested and started to ask more questions, but Trump just walked away from the podium. Acosta sat down and gave the mic to the intern. That didn’t take Trump’s eye, or mouth rather, off of him.

“I’ll tell you what CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.” said Trump.

Shortly following that press conference, the White House took away Acosta’s press pass. Originally, the White House blamed it on his “rough” behavior with the intern. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also shared a video of the altercation but sped it up, which former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said doesn’t count as doctoring. Now, the Trump administration is claiming that they took away his press pass to protect the first amendment.

“CNN, who has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders, and Mr. Acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment. After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions — each of which the President answered — he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions… The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolize the floor. If there is no check on this type of behavior it impedes the ability of the President, the White House staff, and members of the media to conduct business.”

 

Courtesy: Washington Examiner

 

While the Trump administration is citing freedom of speech as it’s reasoning for taking Acosta’s press pass, CNN is calling it an attack on the free press and they are not alone. Other news agencies are standing with CNN such as the Chicago Tribune which said in an editorial “Banning Acosta was a cynical attempt by the White House to control the reporting process — an obvious violation of the guarantee of a free press.” CNN is, in fact, suing the president as well as some of his aides, stating that Acosta’s first and fifth amendment rights are being violated as a direct result of his press pass being taken away. This case would set a new standard for the Trump administration on whether or not they can revoke journalist press pass. CNN is not the only major news network that is against this, many other news organizations are standing with CNN including surprisingly Fox News. Fox News is notoriously pro Trump and by reaching across the partisan aisle like this shows that freedom of the press is a priority over politics.

“While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” said Fox. 

Already there have been some rulings on the case. While there has been no official ruling on the case, a judge ordered the Trump administration's to restore Acosta’s credentials again. This is not permanent but it is a clear win for CNN. However, the judge did warn that the White House could revoke his press pass again at a later date as long as it was fair. There is a lot more to be ruled on though, and this is still a developing story that demands the public's attention. For now, Acosta could be seen today at the courthouse after the ruling, grinning ear to ear.

 

Courtesy: Cheat Sheet

 

“I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today. Let's go back to work!” says Acosta.