CNN’s war on the Trump White House is now entering the legal system. CNN filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia insisting that denying its chief White House shouter Jim Acosta a permanent press pass has caused “irreparable harm,” and that Acosta has a constitutional right to shout at the president under the First and Fifth Amendment rights. How lame is this? Let us count the ways:
1. CNN claims its network is “significantly hampered,” causing harm to Americans who “rely on CNN as an essential news source.” As a network, CNN is not impaired. It still has more than 10 credentialed White House reporters and producers. The only “harm” might be that Acosta yelling at (and repeatedly interrupting) the president excites CNN’s liberal base.
2. CNN claims in court that Acosta is “widely reputed as a diligent and thorough reporter for one of the nation’s most respected and widely watched networks.” CNN isn’t close to the most “widely watched,” and it viciously attacks the most “widely watched” network as a pathetic “state-run” channel. Besides, Acosta isn’t very thorough, as exposed in his attempt to ask Trump adviser Stephen Miller about immigrants. He said, “But this whole notion of … ‘they have to learn English before they get to the United States,’ are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?” Miller calmly explained Acosta was wrong and that many countries have proficient English speakers. And the Washington Post “Fact Checker” agreed.
3. Acosta and his network haven’t always been this hostile (“diligent and thorough”) in covering presidents. On the day of former President Obama’s second inauguration, Acosta proclaimed: “I feel like I should pinch myself right now, Wolf. I can’t believe I have this vantage point of history in the making.” He later added: “It’s good to be the president. It’s almost like being a rock star on every street corner of Washington on this day.” CNN senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny infamously channeled Barbara Walters and asked Obama in 2009 (when he was with The New York Times), “what has surprised you the most about this office, enchanted you the most about serving in this office, humbled you the most and troubled you the most?”
4. CNN’s court filing bizarrely calls this Trump move on Acosta an attempt to “exclude reporters from the White House who challenge and dispute the President’s point of view.” Almost every reporter in the White House challenges Trump’s point of view, but he’s only denying one pass. What makes Acosta so unique? It’s the extreme rudeness and the unwillingness to cede the microphone when his turn is over, like he thinks the other reporters are all worthless and weak.
5. On Capitol Hill, journalists denied a press pass to Breitbart News. Should Breitbart have hired a lawyer and sued? There was no security reason to deny Breitbart, just the contention that it isn’t really a “news” organization. That, quite clearly, is the president’s view about CNN, which spends most of its day assembling panels to trash the president as an ignorant, racist, dangerous, law-abusing tool of the Russians.
6. The president has a right to call on reporters and ignore reporters; he has the right to hold a press conference or not hold one. Former President George W. Bush never took questions from CBS News’ Dan Rather. President Obama never consented to questions from Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Trump could give Acosta his pass back and then try to ignore his question. But everyone knows that whether Acosta’s called on or not, he’s going to yell and yell. Neither his bosses nor his colleagues ever think it’s time for him to sit down and shut up.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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