After Election Day, the White House held a press conference. CNN’s Jim Acosta asked President Trump tough questions about the migrant “invasion” and the Russia investigation. Trump refused to answer Acosta’s questions and instead verbally attacked him, at one point calling Acosta a “rude, terrible person.” While Acosta was asking his questions, a White House intern kept trying to grab the microphone from Acosta. Acosta did not react and kept asking his questions. At one point during the mic yanking, Acosta slightly touches the intern’s arm (it appears to be from the force of her grabbing the mic) and says, “pardon me, ma’am.”
The next time Acosta attempted to enter White House grounds, he had his press pass taken away. To justify this ban, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a series of lies stating that Acosta had his press pass taken away for putting his hands on the intern, Trump has given the press more access than any other president, and Trump is a big supporter of the free press, to name a few.
Immediately after the press conference, different news outlets completely unaffiliated with CNN released a video of the tense moment. Later, Sanders tweeted a low-quality video of the event that makes it seem like Acosta was being violent. The video was clearly edited to show contact between Acosta and the intern close up and repeatedly, but some argue that Sanders had the video doctored to make the intern look like a victim.
Journalists think that Acosta’s press pass was taken away for his tough questions and the situation with the intern is just an excuse to justify the extreme response. Veteran journalists said that they had never seen a president respond to tough questioning like that. Banning a reporter for asking hard questions is a direct attack on the free press and a complete violation of the First Amendment. This administration has already been hostile towards the press, and this attack takes things to a new level.
Removing the free press is the first step towards taking other rights and civil liberties from the public. If the Trump administration is not held accountable for its actions, things will only get worse.