On 11-07-18, President Trump held a press conference, in which Jim Acosta of CNN, rather than asking questions, harangued Mr. Trump, made accusations, and demanded he defend himself. As usual, his behavior was rude, arrogant, and did not pay due deference to the Office of the President. It is clear Acosta hates Mr. Trump, and he is unable–almost certainly unwilling–to restrain his hatred. This is true of much of the media. Equally true is the time-honored and necessary media rule never to make the story about the reporter has long been abandoned.
Michael Goodwin, whose writing reveals him to be one of the old school, an honorable, ethical reporter, writes in The New York Post:
The conduct of a handful of so-called reporters during President Trump’s news conference was disgraceful beyond measure. This is not journalism, this is narcissism.
Naturally, the boorish Jim Acosta of CNN was the instigator. As is his habit, Acosta doesn’t ask questions — he makes accusations and argues. Almost daily, he does it with the press secretary; Wednesday, he did it with the president.
‘I want to challenge you,’ Acosta began after Trump called on him. Trump realized he’d made a mistake, murmuring, ‘Here we go,’ and Acosta didn’t disappoint.
He adopted a lecturing, I-know-best tone to declare that ‘they’re hundreds and hundreds of miles away; that’s not an invasion.’
Trump’s response should not have been necessary: ‘Honestly, I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN.
An invasion is no less so merely because those that will eventually cross a national border are not yet there. Intent matters, and the intent of those streaming toward our southern border could not be clearer. Either Acosta is plainly ignorant of history and common English words, or he is ignoring them to harry President Trump. Which, I wonder, is worse in a reporter?
After more back-and-forth, he called Acosta ‘a rude, terrible person’ and said ‘CNN should be ashamed of itself.’
That should have been enough — Acosta got the attention he wanted and got Trump’s goat, giving his network video it could make hay out of for days. Besides, there were scores of other reporters raising their hands to be called on.
But Acosta wouldn’t give up the microphone and kept talking over Trump, trying to lob another grenade.
The president, clearly angry now and stepping away from the podium as if he might bolt the room, pointed at him and said forcefully, ‘That’s enough, that’s enough. Put down the mic.
Paying due deference to The President Of The United States, whoever he is, requires doing as he asks, as well as common civility. It is, after all, his microphone, his press conference, and his prerogative to decide which reporters to call upon, and when to move on to another. When he says “you’re done,” and tells you to surrender the mic to another reporter, you do it, not only to pay him proper deference, but to treat your colleagues politely.
Finally, Acosta sat down, then stood up to argue again, interrupting another reporter. That reporter, from NBC, praised Acosta and picked up the baton by making his own accusation disguised as a question. He mentioned Trump’s attacks on Democrats and ‘asked’ the president: Why are ‘you are pitting Americans against one another?’
Trump, to his credit, actually answered in a substantive way, but that didn’t satisfy because the reporter didn’t really ask a question. He too just wanted to make an accusation and argue. On camera.
Of course. It’s all about the reporter. Helping to inform the public by posing pertinent questions is so yesterday.
Yes, it’s true that most journalists lean far left and their bias sticks out like so many sore thumbs. That’s been true for a long time, but political bias is an insufficient explanation for the Jim Acostas of our time.
They hate Trump. They really, really hate him. There’s nothing professional about it.
They are not alone. Take a poll of almost any major newsroom in America and the vast majority of those working there, if they are being honest, will confess that they too can’t stand the existence or the sound of Trump.
Goodwin observes that none of these reporters ever behaved that way toward Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Particularly in Obama’s case, that would have been blasphemous. He was their messiah.
As Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection reports, the White House revoked Acosta’s White House press pass, not because he was rude, but because he assaulted a female White House intern who, at Mr. Trump’s direction, tried to take the mic from Acosta.
We covered earlier todayhow CNN’s Jim Acosta refused to hand over a White House microphone when asked to do so, instead insisting on continuing to shout questions after already having asked a question and engaged in a back and forth with Trump.
Trump tried to call on other reporters, and directed a female staffer to get the microphone from Acosta and give it to the next questioner. But Acosts physically prevented the female staffer from getting the microphone out of his hands.
Here is the video of the exchange when Acosta uses his hand to try to block the female staffers arm (see featured image for circled screengrab):
Sarah Sanders tweeted the following statement:
President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern…
This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history.
Contrary to CNN’s assertions there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today. Only they would attack the President for not supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters…
…over the course of 1.5 hours including several from the reporter in question. The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it‘s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration
As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.
Acosta and his media enablers are claiming he never touched the intern, or perhaps, that he just “brushed” her:
By all means, take the links in the articles cited and see the video of the incident for yourself. The female intern reaches for the mic Acosta is holding in his right hand, he reaches across her arm with his left arm, and pushes down on her arm to keep her from reaching the mic. He actually made contact with her, and pushed her arm downward, which was clearly his intention. He was not giving up that mic for any reason, certainly not because the POTUS told him to.
Assault occurs when anyone, without permission, touches another. Some statutes add an additional element, and no rational police officer will make an arrest for an accidental touch, but his touching was clearly no accident. Acosta intended to prevent her from getting the microphone, and pushed down on her arm to prevent it. That’s an assault, and Acosta was angry and aggressive when he did it.
But many high-profile media members, including The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and CNN executive Matt Dornic, have accused Sanders of using a doctored video speeding up Acosta’s arm motion, as evidence.
“Absolutely shameful, @PressSec. You released a doctored video,”’ Dornic responded.
‘Yes, the White House press office is sharing a manipulated video that makes it appear that Acosta was menacing the intern when he was not and did not. The intern reached over Acosta to grab the microphone while he was trying to ask another q and Acosta tried to pull away,’ Haberman wrote.
The video is clearly not “doctored.” There are no jump cuts, no lapses in continuity. There is no contrast or pixel shift. Several versions of the video merely tighten the focus on the area of contact on the Intern’s arm to make it more obvious what Acosta did. The photo appearing in this article demonstrates Acosta’s arm was in contact with the Intern’s. There is certainly no acceleration of the video, nor has anyone said Acosta “chopped” the Intern’s arm.
We urge the White House to immediately reverse this week and misguided action,” the WHCA [White House Correspondent’s Association] wrote. We encourage anyone with doubts that this reaction was disproportionate to the perceived offense to view the video of events.
“Perceived offense?” Reporters don’t get to ignore the lawful and reasonable commands of the President, nor do they get to put their hands, in any way, on female Interns. That went out of style with Bill Clinton. It is likewise hardly unreasonable of the President to ask that reporters behave politely and instead of trying to debate him, ask questions.
CNN said Wednesday night that Acosta’s suspension ‘was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference’ and claimed Sanders ‘lied’ in her explanation of what unraveled.
‘This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support,’ CNN said.
As usual, the Media, including Fox News, have rallied around one of their own, regardless of how wretched his behavior. Is the ousting of one arrogant, rude, and juvenile reporter from the White House “a threat to our democracy”? Considering that the President continued the press conference for more than an hour after Acosta’s tantrum, and considering no other reporter has been barred from the White House, apparently not.
That the media can’t understand why normal Americans despise them is at once incredible and pathetic. These people are so divorced from the reality of normal America, and so caught up in their inflated sense of self-importance they, like vampires, cast no reflection; they can’t see their arrogance and boorishness.
And now, CNN has filed a lawsuit to try to force Mr. Trump to restore Acosta’s hard pass to the White House. Even Fox News is joining in the lawsuit–spitting on their core audience–against President Trump:
Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential,’ Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement. ‘Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. 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.
Wallace is engaging in shameless hypebole. He’s lying to the public. Multiple other CNN reporters have White House hard passes. Expecting reporters to behave professionally, politely and with minimum deference is not remotely “weaponizing” press passes. Any President may choose to have press conferences, or not, and he, no one else, decides who gets to attend and under what circumstances. The First Amendment does not give reporters a right to be wherever they want whenever they say they want to be there. Do Fox reporters intend to behave like Acosta? Is that the “right” they’re fighting to vindicate?
We can’t have a president acting like dictators do all over the world — to silence reporters that they don’t like or reporters who say things or dig too deeply or expose the president too much,” Ted Olson, the attorney representing CNN in its lawsuit, said Tuesday. ‘The president wants to silence people like that. He cannot do that under the First Amendment.
Lawyers must, of course, zealously represent their client’s interests, but it is little known they may not lie or knowingly allow their clients or witnesses to lie. Olson surely knows that no one is being silenced. CNN remains free to publish what it pleases. There is no prior restraint, and no restraint after publication. The First Amendment is not implicated. To call President Trump a dictator is disgraceful, and a lie.
I just read CNN’s lawsuit against the administration over Jim Acosta. It’s a very weak case, but if they get before an Obama or Clinton district judge, who knows. CNN hired Ted Olson’s firm, and he has signed onto the lawsuit. Olson was hired for a few reasons: 1. As a former Reagan official and lawyer for Bush in Bush-Gore, CNN hopes to make the PR case that this a bipartisan matter; 2. CNN hopes to make the PR case that it is upholding the Constitution against a rogue administration; and, 3. CNN has employed a top Supreme Court litigator.
Nonetheless, it is a ridiculous suit. CNN still has reporters at the White House and in the presidential press conferences; Acosta does not have a constitutional right to be physically present in the press room, anymore than the scores of media outlets that do not; Acosta can watch the press conference from outside the White House grounds as they are televised; the president cannot be compelled by any court to actually call on any particular reporter during a press conference; Acosta does not have a constitutional right to disrupt the press conference with his various antics anymore than any other reporter; and, a president is not constitutionally compelled to hold a presidential press conference. The courts should stay out of this on separation of powers grounds, among other things. No one is preventing Acosta from reporting or CNN from broadcasting.
Let us say, gentle readers, some leftist judge orders Mr. Trump to allow Acosta to do as he pleases. It’s a virtual certainty he’ll simply cancel all future press conferences, and separately but equally, deny every reporter any access to the White House. Enemies of the people deserve no less, and if CNN and the rest of the media flock press this, more and more Americans will see them precisely that way, and deservedly so.