Remember during the campaign when Trump’s campaign manager was accused of assaulting a female reporter as he pushed through media lines to get Trump out of the room? Many in the media howled for his immediate arrest.
Funny how things change. After CNN reporter Jim Acosta forcefully blocked a White House intern doing her job of taking away his microphone after a nasty spat with the president, the media have mostly defended him. Never mind that he laid hands on a young woman without her permission — similar to what Trump’s campaign manager did to the Breitbart reporter.
Despite obvious footage showing Acosta bringing his hand down on the intern’s arm to block her from taking his microphone, CNN is standing by their man and doubling down on their attacks of the president.
This President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.
The difference is, his fellow journalists everywhere didn’t do a karate chop on a White House intern’s arm as she tried to do her job. It might seem like a minor thing, just an instinctive reaction, but it’s still unacceptable if not illegal.
Additionally, Trump never attacked freedom of the press. He has criticized fake news, lies in the media, and partisan press outlets that spread propaganda instead of reporting news. He has never implemented any program or policy to shut down the press, has never taken any action against their liberties — even those who lie for a living.
The press is free — it’s free even to lie — but no individual reporter is free to be disruptive to the point of hostility. Getting a White House press pass is a privilege given to an individual, not a right. It can be revoked for bad behavior — and that’s exactly what has happened here.
After the altercation, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced that Acosta’s press pass would be suspended, calling his conduct “absolutely unacceptable.” Sanders tweeted:
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.
Acosta took to social media, complaining that the U.S. Secret Service had asked for his credentials to enter the White House. He shamelessly recorded the interaction, projecting himself into the news as a victim.
The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job. (Sorry this video is not rightside up) pic.twitter.com/juQeuj3B9R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
Falling in line with CNN, the White House Correspondents’ Association released a statement in Acosta’s defense:
The White House Correspondents’ Association strongly objects to the Trump Administration’s decision to use US Secret Service security credentials as a tool to punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship. Revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offense and is unacceptable.
Journalists may use a range of approaches to carry out their jobs and the WHCA does not police the tone or frequency of the questions its members ask of powerful senior government officials, including the President. Such interactions, however uncomfortable they may appear to be, help define the strength of our national institutions.
We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action.
We encourage anyone with doubts that this reaction was disproportionate to the perceived offense to view the video of the events from earlier today.
There’s one word for the press’s defense of Acosta: hypocrisy. Let’s go back to a press conference in June 2012 when a reporter from The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, merely interrupted President Obama as he spoke about immigration. Obama snapped back, “I didn’t ask for an argument.”
There wasn’t any pushing of arms, repeated argumentation, or nasty comments. Simply an interruption. What was CNN’s response? To chide the reporter for interrupting, whine about how many times Obama was disrespected, and complain about the lack of civility plaguing our nation.
After the dreaded interruption, reporters mobbed the journalist and later wrote critical pieces about his lack of etiquette. CBS News called it a “violation of decorum” that is “rarely done.” The Daily Mail called the reporter a “heckler.”
No doubt, given this reaction to a simple interruption, if that reporter had laid hands on one of Obama’s interns, you can bet the media would be calling for his press pass to be taken and burned. The hypocrisy is stunning, but given the media’s hatred of Trump, it’s not surprising.