CNN offices evacuated in bomb scare just as Trump tweeted ‘ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE’ about media he doesn’t like

Donald Trump launched his latest attack on the media just as the offices of CNN, frequently the target of his anger, were being evacuated following a bomb threat.

Police searched the broadcaster’s New York newsroom after a caller claimed five explosives had been placed inside the building. Officers later gave the all-clear.

Moments after the threat, which CNN said came just before 10pm, the president wrote on Twitter: “FAKE NEWS – THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

There is no suggestion he had seen reports of the evacuation when he posted the tweet, which followed posts in which accused the FBI of pursuing a “witch hunt” against him.

But the apparent coincidence is likely to reignite concerns about Mr Trump’s anti-media rhetoric.

Earlier this year, CNN and several high-profile critics, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, were targeted with mail bombs allegedly sent by a Trump supporter.

New York Police Department said the latest threat against the broadcaster on Thursday night proved to be hoax.

Police said they received an emergency call about the threat at 10.07pm local time (3.07am GMT), a minute before Mr Trump’s tweet.

Staff evacuated the Time Warner Centre and Don Lemon’s CNN Tonight was taken off the air as officers searched the building with a bomb squad on standby.

The network broadcast pre-recorded programming for about 30 minutes before Mr Lemon’s show resumed live from the street outside.

No bombs were found inside the building.

[The Independent]

Trump suggests creating U.S. ‘worldwide network’ to compete with CNN

President Donald Trump on Monday suggested the United States should create a “worldwide network” to combat the “unfair” way the country is treated by the media, saying CNN doesn’t have enough competition overseas.

“Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair….” the president tweeted. “….and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

CNN has both a domestic and international network.

The U.S. government currently funds Voice of America, an international radio broadcast source. Congress in 2017 eliminated the board of directors for the organization, with a new CEO position created, which is appointed by the president.

Trump has had a tense relationship with the press, including a brief legal battle with CNN after the White House revoked reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass.

[Politico]

White House Tells CNN They’ll Revoke Acosta’s Press Credential Once Restraining Order Passes

CNN’s Brian Stelter reported in Sunday night’s Reliable Sources newsletter that the White House intends to revoke the Press Credential of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta at the end of the month.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered, on Friday, that Acosta’s “hard pass” be returned immediately. Kelly found that Acosta’s First Amendment rights superseded the White House’s right to hold orderly press conferences.

The ruling only represented a temporary “victory” for CNN and Acosta according to Stelter’s reporting (emphasis his):

After CNN won a temporary restraining order on Friday, forcing the White House to restore his press pass for 14 days, White House officials sent Acosta a letter stating that his pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires.

From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.

CNN responded with this statement on Sunday: “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.”

Acosta’s press credential had been revoked, reportedly at the direction of President Donald Trump, after a contentious White House press conference in which the CNN reporter persisted in asking follow-up questions and refused to give up a microphone despite Trump’s direction.

Supporters of Trump’s banning of Acosta believe that his disruptive behavior flouted accepted standards of White House decorum, while CNN and Acosta supporters point out disruptive questions are a time-honored journalist tradition. Or put another way, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”

So it seems the ongoing war over First Amendment rights versus accepted standards of behavior will feature another battle, which will bring another distracting topic for cable news pundits to discuss at length. It’s almost as its a designed distraction from stories that paint the Trump administration in a less than flattering light?

UPDATE: CNN has responded by filed a status report asking for the Court to intervene. BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman reports:

[Mediaite]

Sarah Sanders: ‘If Certain Reporters Like Jim Acosta Can’t Be Adults,’ Then CNN Should Send Someone Who Can Be

Sarah Huckabee Sanders took another shot at CNN’s Jim Acosta tonight in an interview on Hannity with… Mike Huckabee.

The White House Press Secretary’s father began the interview by asking her about the protocol for decorum being worked on after the judge’s ruling in Acosta’s favor today.

Sanders said the White House supports a free press, but added that “freedom of the press doesn’t mean freedom to be disruptive, freedom to be rude, freedom to interrupt.”

She claimed that they sent CNN a letter tonight laying out “what we think were some of the missteps that their reporter made at the press conference… and we expect to see a response from that.”

In an interview today, the President himself said, after the ruling, if Acosta “misbehaves” they’ll throw him out again. And Sanders said they don’t want reporters to be “disruptive” and impede anyone’s ability to do their jobs.

When her father asked her about the protocol put in place, Sanders said there are “standard practices” they want addressed, and that “the very basic minimum is that if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be.”

[Mediaite]

Trump on Acosta: ‘If he misbehaves we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference’

President Trump brushed off a federal judge’s Friday ruling that the White House must reinstate press credentials for Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent.

The president also said during an interview set to air on “Fox News Sunday” that if Acosta “misbehaves” at a future press conference the White House could “throw him out.”

“Yeah, it’s fine. I mean, it’s not a big deal,” Trump told Fox News’s Chris Wallace when asked about the ruling Friday to reinstate Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked last week.

“What they said though is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, etc., etc. We’re doing that, were going to write them up right now,” Trump continued. “It’s not a big deal. And if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”

The White House stripped Acosta of his press pass last week following a fiery exchange with the president during a press conference, with the CNN reporter holding on to the microphone to continue asking questions when an intern attempted to take it away.

“We had a lot of reporters in that room, many, many reporters in that room and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts you know doing what he’s supposed to be doing for him and for CNN and you know just shouting out questions and making statements, too,” Trump said Friday.

“But I will say this, look, nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do, and if I think somebody is acting out of sorts, I will leave. I will say, ‘thank you very much everybody, I appreciate you coming,’ and I’ll leave,” he added.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, ordered the White House on Friday to restore Acosta’s press pass, giving him regular access to the White House grounds to cover events and press conferences.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration would abide by the judge’s ruling, but staff “will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future.”

Kelly argued in his ruling that the White House violated Acosta and CNN’s Fifth Amendment rights to due process by kicking Acosta out, but did not say their First Amendment rights to free speech were infringed.

Trump and Acosta engaged in a tense exchange during the televised press conference last week after the reporter pushed Trump on his comments criticizing a group of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.

As Acosta continued to press the president, a White House intern attempted to take the microphone away. Acosta did not let go, with his hand brushing against the intern.

After the press conference, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands” on the intern and cited the incident as the reason for why his media access was being revoked.

In court Friday, Kelly said the White House’s characterization was likely untrue.

Acosta and CNN argued that the press pass was revoked because the administration didn’t like the questions Acosta asked.

[CNN]

Trump to African American reporter: ‘You ask a lot of stupid questions’

President Trump on Friday criticized a question from CNN reporter Abby Phillip as “stupid” while speaking with reporters on the White House lawn on Friday.

In a gaggle with reporters, Trump was asked by Phillip if he was hoping that Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general appointed on Wednesday and a past critic of Robert Mueller‘s special counsel investigation, would “rein in” the Russia probe.

“Do you want [Whitaker] to rein in Robert Mueller?” Phillip asked.

“What a stupid question that is,” Trump responded. “What a stupid question.”

“But I watch you a lot,” the president continued. “You ask a lot of stupid questions.”

Declining to answer, Trump then walked away from the gaggle as Phillip and other reporters shouted questions in response.

Trump’s comments aimed at Phillip come as he increasingly feuds with CNN, the cable news network he has long battled.

Trump also called April Ryan, a contributor to the network, a “loser” on Friday. And he again criticized CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, with whom he is feuding.

On Wednesday night, the White House suspended Acosta’s press pass after the reporter pressed Trump on his statements about a migrant caravan at a press conference earlier that day.

The White House then tweeted out an apparently doctored video first posted by the conspiracy site InfoWars to claim that Acosta physically struck a White House intern who was attempting to take his microphone.

Acosta’s arm briefly brushed the White House aide’s arm as she reached in to take his microphone, but Acosta did not put his hands on the aide.

“We will … never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”

CNN responded in a statement, stating that Sanders “lied” about the incident between Acosta and the intern, and used a “fraudulent” explanation to justify rescinding Acosta’s press pass.

“It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today’s press conference,” the network said. “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better.”

[The Hill]

Trump claims deceptively edited video distributed by White House wasn’t altered

President Donald Trump claimed on Friday that a White House-released video depicting contact between a staffer and a CNN reporter wasn’t altered, and he seemingly threatened to revoke the White House press credentials of more reporters.

Trump insisted that the video distributed by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was simply a “close-up” and “was not doctored.”

“Nobody manipulated it. All that is is a close-up,” said the president, who then attacked the reporter for asking the question and called him “dishonest.”

A frame-by-frame comparison with an Associated Press video of the same incident from Trump’s postelection news conference Wednesday shows that the video tweeted by Sanders appears to speed up CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s arm movement when he makes contact with a White House intern who was trying to take away Acosta’s microphone. The speedup appears to make the gesture more threatening.

Trump, in remarks Friday, also did not back off his administration’s decision to suspend Acosta’s press credential, which allows the CNN correspondent access to the White House grounds.

“He’s a very unprofessional guy. I don’t think he’s a smart person but he has a loud voice,” Trump told reporters in a testy 20-plus-minute exchange before he left for Paris and a World War I commemoration ceremony. “You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect.”

The president said he had not decided if Acosta’s pass would be reinstated and he suggested there “could be others” who lose their credentials. He belittled several of the reporters gathered around him. He said one had asked “a stupid question,” and he singled out April Ryan, a correspondent for Urban Radio Networks, calling her “very nasty” and “a loser.”

Ryan, who is also a CNN contributor, tweeted in response: “I love this country and have the most respect for the Office of the President. I will continue to ask the questions that affect America, all of America.”

Trump’s latest attacks on the media came in the wake of his free-wheeling and contentious news conference two days earlier, and followed demands by several journalists and organizations — including the American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the White House Correspondents Association — that Acosta’s press pass be reinstated.

“It is the essential function of a free press in every democracy to independently gather and report information in the public interest, a right that is enshrined in the First Amendment,” said Julie Pace, AP’s Washington bureau chief. “We strongly reject the idea that any administration would block a journalist’s access to the White House.”

The New York Times editorialized in favor of restoring Acosta’s pass, saying it signaled Trump’s view that asking hard questions disqualifies reporters from attending briefings. The newspaper said that if Sanders was so offended by physical contact, “what did she have to say when her boss praised as ‘my kind of guy’ Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana, who was sentenced to anger management classes and community service for body-slamming a Guardian reporter last spring?”

It’s rare for the White House to pull the media credentials.

During Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, the Secret Service denied clearance to Robert Sherrill, a reporter for The Nation who had gotten into physical fights with government officials. During the George W. Bush presidency, Trude Feldman, who worked for various news outlets, was suspended for 90 days after security cameras recorded her looking through a press aide’s desk late one night. In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon tried to get Washington Post reporters banned from the White House.

Despite losing his White House pass, Acosta traveled to Paris this weekend to cover Trump’s trip to meet with world leaders. He tweeted a photo of himself standing in front of the Eiffel Tower early Friday.

Abba Shapiro, an independent video producer who examined the Wednesday footage at AP’s request, noticed that frames in the tweeted video of the exchange at the news conference were frozen to slow down the action, allowing it to run the same length as the AP one.

Sanders, who hasn’t said where the tweeted video came from, noted that it clearly shows Acosta made contact with the intern. In her statement announcing Acosta’s suspension, she said the White House won’t tolerate “a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job.”

While the origin of the manipulated video is unclear, its distribution marked a new low for an administration that has been criticized for its willingness to mislead.

CNN has labeled Sanders’ characterization of Acosta’s exchange with the intern as a lie. Its position has been supported by witnesses, including Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who was next to Acosta during the news conference and tweeted that he did not see Acosta place his hands on the White House employee. Rather, Mason said he saw Acosta holding on to the microphone as the intern reached for it.

[Associated Press]

Trump Blasts ‘Disgrace’ Jim Acosta, ‘Loser’ April Ryan, Suggests More Reporters Could Lose Credentials

President Donald Trump ripped Jim Acosta on Friday, after the CNN chief White House correspondent had his press pass suspended over false allegations he acted inappropriately with an intern.

“I think Jim Acosta’s a very unprofessional man,” Trump said. “He does this with everybody. He gets paid to do that, you know he gets paid to burst in. He’s a very unprofessional guy, whether it’s me or Ronald Reagan or anybody else, he would’ve done the same thing. I don’t think he’s a smart person, but he’s got a loud voice.”

Trump said he hasn’t made a decision on the fate of Acosta’s press credentials, adding “there could be others also” that could lose their access.

“This is a very sacred place, this is a very special place,” Trump continued. “You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect.”

Trump called Acosta a “disgrace,” before turning his ire towards another White House reporter, April Ryan.

“You talk about somebody that’s a loser, she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing,” Trump said. “She gets publicity, and then she gets a pay raise, or she gets a contract with, I think CNN.

“But she’s very nasty and she shouldn’t be,” he added.

[Mediaite]

Media

‘Sit down!’ Trump berates CNN’s April Ryan as she tries to question him about voter suppression

In a lengthy press conference Wednesday following a Democratic takeover of the House, President Donald Trump denounced the Mueller investigation as a “disgrace” and shouted at several CNN reporters.

The president’s antipathy towards certain reporters was in full display. He repeatedly shut down CNN’s April Ryan when she tried to ask a question, refusing to cede the microphone to her.

“Will you please sit down?” he shouted at the CNN reporter. Ryan shook her head and took her seat.

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump attacks CNN’s Jim Acosta in angry White House press conference: ‘Just sit down’

Donald Trump has launched an extraordinary tirade against a reporter during a press conference following the midterm elections.

The US president ordered the journalist to put down his microphone and “just sit down”.

The row began following a question about the migrant caravan approaching the US, when Mr Trump was asked by CNN’s Jim Acosta if he thought he had “demonised” migrants by calling the group an “invasion”.

“I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better,” the Republican said.

After Mr Acosta attempted to follow up his question with a second on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Mr Trump added, pointing angrily: “That’s enough. That’s enough. That’s enough. Excuse me, that’s enough.”

Mr Trump said he was “not concerned about anything” because the investigation was “a hoax”.

Continuing to berate Mr Acosta, he added: “That’s enough. Put down the mic.”

Mr Acosta was seen to tussle with a female White House aide who was trying to retrieve the microphone.

As the reporter continued to quiz him and interrupt him, Mr Trump became more agitated and stepped away from the podium. Mr Acosta then sat down.

Returning to the podium, Mr Trump said: “I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.

“The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible and the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”

A second reporter, Peter Alexander, was called on by the president and said: “In Jim’s defence I’ve travelled with him a lot, he’s a diligent reporter.”

Mr Trump cut him off, telling the NBC News journalist that “I’m not a big fan of yours either”, prompting laughter in the room.

Mr Acosta continued to try to ask questions without his microphone, causing Mr Trump to tell him: “Just sit down, please. When you report fake news – no – when you report fake news, which CNN does, a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”

Mr Trump appeared to be in a sour mood following the Democrats’ capture of the House of Representatives last night, though he talked up the Republicans’ gain of at least two seats in the Senate.

But he mocked a number of losing Republican candidates who did not campaign for him. “Those are some of the people who decided for their own reason not to embrace – whether it’s me or what we stand for,” he said.

“They did very poorly. I’m not sure that I should be happy or sad but I feel just fine about it.”

Mr Trump clashed with a series of reporters during the testy, 90-minute press conference, as journalists frequently spoke over him and each other when trying to raise their questions.

Asked repeatedly by a Yahoo! News reporter about alleged racist comments – which he strongly denied – Mr Trump said: “Quiet. Quiet. See, when you talk about division [in America], it’s people like this that cause division, great division.

“Point of fact is I never used a racist remark, that’s the point of fact. Who are you from? Yahoo? Oh, good. I hope they’re doing well.”

Mr Trump’s infrequent set-piece press conferences tend to address a huge range of topics as reporters try to press the president on any and all issues. Their rarity increases the pressure on journalists to get answers.

[The Independent]

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