The White House is continuing its assault on the freedom of the press, having again threatened to revoke CNN journalist Jim Acosta’s press access to the grounds — and now, his employer wants an emergency court hearing held on the matter.
After previously winning a temporary restraining order demanding that Acosta’s press access be returned, they’re now seeking a preliminary injunction, which will have a longer potential effective period. The White House — and, more particularly, communications official Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — had threatened to pull Acosta’s pass again once the original order expires at the end of this month.
‘The White House is continuing to violate the First and 5th Amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President.’
They’d previously scored their temporary victory on Fifth Amendment grounds. Judge Timothy J. Kelly ruled that the White House’s abrupt cancellation of Acosta’s press access to the White House violated his Constitutionally mandated right to due process.
The White House originally claimed that they revoked the pass because at the president’s post-midterm elections press conference, Acosta “put his hands on” an intern who was trying to procure the microphone he was holding. He did not act as they claimed, though, simply politely refusing to hand over the mic after the aide tried to grab it.
That didn’t stop the administration. Sanders shared a doctored video of the interaction, sped up so as to make the journalist appear more aggressive.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway followed that up with an acknowledgement that the video was sped up but concurrent claim it wasn’t “doctored” — because that makes sense to her, apparently.
The White House eventually ceded at least somewhat to reality in the situation and shifted their reasoning for revoking Acosta’s press pass to his overall combative behavior at the press conference in question. The First Amendment, though, doesn’t say that freedom of the press shall prevail — unless the president and his associates don’t like how pointed journalists are being.
CNN claims that the letter from Shine and Sanders threatening to again revoke Acosta’s press access represents another attempt to fix the White House’s mess, constituting an “attempt to provide retroactive due process.”
CNN hasn’t found itself alone in their quarrels with the president — a whole array of news organizations, including Fox News, announced plans to file briefs with the court on the network’s behalf — while the White House garnered the support of the far right “One America News Network.”
Meanwhile, the president’s incessant antagonism of the press going far beyond Acosta has continued.
Seemingly reveling in dragging revered American rights through the mud, he rushed to Twitter after a story from The New York Times about him supposedly questioning the vice president’s loyalty to again decry the fake news — which he thinks constitutes the lion’s share of the mainstream media — as the “enemy of the people.” He’s shared the sentiment multiple times before.
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