Despite its place at the head of the United States of America, where the First Amendment, guaranteeing the freedom of the press, remains in place, the Trump administration has completely divorced itself from that concept. During the Thursday White House press briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to establish some kind of baseline respect for the press, but press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would not even agree to that.
Now, after that ordeal, he’s responded, condemning the hostility that the Trump administration puts out there on a consistent basis.
An exhausted Acosta shared on CNN:
‘I’m tired of this. It is not right, it is not fair, it is not just. It is un-American to come out here and call the press the enemy of the people… Fellow Americans are not the enemy of fellow Americans. Forgive me for going on a rant, but I think that they’ve lost sight of that here at this White House.’
Donald Trump has repeatedly used that phrase in reference to the mainstream media, and it took a place at the front of the national political conversation this week after his daughter Ivanka countered it. She explained that although she understands sensitivity to the media, she definitively does not consider the media to be the “enemy of the American people” as her father has asserted.
Thursday at the White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders absolutely refused to offer any similar dismissal of the media as the enemy line.
Acosta asked her for one, but she insistently demurred, commenting that the president has made his own position clear and adding:
‘It’s ironic, Jim, that not only you [but] the media [at large] attack the president for his rhetoric when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country. Repeatedly, the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger… the media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in this administration.’
As evidence for her claims, she brought up comedienne Michelle Wolff’s incorporation of her appearance into a joke — not mocking her appearance — made at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner and what sounded like support from cable news host(s) for her being asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia because of her job.
Acosta acknowledged that yes, things have taken regrettable turns at times, but continued to press her for an establishment of a baseline of respect for the press, and she adamantly refused to agree to it.
Acosta didn’t just sit around after that, walking out of the briefing and offering an explanation on Twitter for why.
Commenting that he was “totally saddened by what just happened,” he continued:
‘Sarah Sanders was repeatedly given a chance to say the press is not the enemy and she wouldn’t do it. Shameful.’
Trump, for his part, dug into his position on Thursday, but there’s no surprise on that front. He asserted on Twitter that it’s only the “fake news” that’s the enemy of the American people — but he’s dismissed most major national news organizations with a major D.C. footprint as “fake news,” so it’s not like the president’s counter actually helps. The fact remains that the current White House consistently dismisses the legitimacy of the free press.
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