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 Kelly found that Acosta’s First Amendment rights superseded the White House’s right to hold orderly press conferences.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Acosta’s press credential had been revoked, reportedly at the direction of President Donald Trump, after a contentious White House press conference in which the CNN reporter persisted in asking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 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

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a doctored video of the Jim Acosta mic-grab that was shared hours earlier by the far-right site Infowars

The White House is accused of using a video of CNN’s Jim Acosta doctored by the conspiracy-theory outlet Infowars as justification for suspending the journalist’s press pass on Wednesday.

Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN, was engaged in a tense exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference at the White House when a White House intern walked up and tried to take the microphone away from him. Acosta held on to the microphone and kept trying to question Trump.

Acosta was holding the microphone in his right hand. At one point, the intern reached under Acosta’s left arm to try to grab the microphone, and he appeared to gently block her with his arm. Here is the moment as broadcast live on NBC:

A video shared on Twitter by the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, makes Acosta’s movement appear more violent.

What appears to be the same video was shared two hours earlier by Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large of Infowars.com, a far-right conspiracy outlet whose content has been barred from almost every major tech content distributor, including Apple, Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube, generally for violating their policies on hate speech.

The CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter asked Sanders for the source of the video. “Surely you don’t trust InfoWars…?” he said on Twitter.

Other Twitter users showed Sanders’ video side-by-side with the original broadcast to argue the one she posted had been doctored.

The White House suspended Acosta’s press credentials after the press conference, limiting his access to the White House grounds. Sanders said on Twitter that the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” though no video evidence has so far supported that claim.

[Business Insider]

White House suspends credentials for CNN’s Jim Acosta

The White House has suspended the credentials of a CNN journalist hours after a testy exchange with US President Donald Trump.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says a reporter’s access was removed because he put “his hands on a young woman”.

Mr Acosta, chief White House correspondent for CNN, was called a “rude, terrible person” by Mr Trump at a press conference on Wednesday.

A staff member tried to take his microphone during the exchange.

However, Mr Acosta refused to give it up as he attempted to ask the president a further question.

Video of the incident quickly appeared online.

What did the White House say?

Ms Sanders, in a statement posted in a Twitter thread, said the White House would “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job”.

“The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it’s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration,” she said.

“As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.”

Mr Acosta called Ms Sanders’ assertion that he placed his hands on the woman “a lie”.

He also posted a tweet saying he was stopped by the Secret Service from entering White House grounds.

What happened at the earlier press conference?

President Trump insulted Mr Acosta after the reporter challenged his recent assertions about a migrant caravan heading to the US from Central America.

It was during this exchange the female staff member attempted to take the microphone from Mr Acosta.

“That’s enough, that’s enough,” the president said, before telling Mr Acosta to sit down and to put down his microphone.

“CNN should be ashamed of themselves, having you work for them,” he said. “The way you treat Sarah Huckabee [Sanders] is horrible.”

[BBC]

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]

Sarah Sanders presents the official White House policy: The media is the enemy of the people

When President Trump derides the media as the enemy of the people — as he’s doing more frequently — he’s not just spouting off his momentary frustration. He’s stating official White House policy.

The White House just made that abundantly clear. Four times in two days, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was offered the opportunity by reporters to clarify whether the president really thinks journalists are the enemy of Americans, or that it’s wrong for people to harass journalists doing their job. It wouldn’t be the first time an official White House statement contradicted something the president said or tweeted.

But four times in two days, Sanders refused to say that the media is not the enemy of the people or to condemn people who heckled a CNN reporter Tuesday in Tampa, to the point where he feared someone was going to get hurt.

Instead, the White House press secretary ticked off a list of sometimes-inaccurate and sometimes-unrelated grievances about how these hyperpartisan times have affected her life and the president’s life, and why they blame journalists for that.

“The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in his administration,” Sanders said.

Basically: The White House thinks that journalists are the enemy of the people.

I don’t need to get into here why this is a problem; that’s Democracy 101.

But it’s worth spending a moment on where we are, both because having this debate in the first place is not normal and because it is shaping up to be a front line in the political battle between right and left in 2018.

In a week full of tension between journalists and Trump and Trump supporters, the most heady moment so far came Thursday, when the journalist at the center of so many attacks from the right (including from the president himself), CNN’s Jim Acosta, twice asked Sanders if she would say that the media is not the enemy of the people.

He was following up on an earlier question in the briefing about how Ivanka Trump said she doesn’t agree with her father that the press is the country’s enemy. Trump later tried to square her statement with his own by claiming he doesn’t think all media is the enemy, just most of it.

“… [I]t would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press — the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of the people like the ones you brought forward earlier — are not the enemy of the people,” Acosta said. “I think we deserve that.”

Instead, Sanders looked down at her notes and appeared to read a prepared statement about her perceived grievances with the media; how, among other things, she was cruelly made fun of by a comedian at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. (The association said Michelle Wolf’s performance “was not in the spirit” of the mission of promoting the free press.)

I mention Sanders reading from her notes because it’s a telling detail that she had something ready to go on this. It suggests she knew that she was going to be asked about Trump’s views on the media, she had talked about it with the president, and they decided not to back down, even on the basic question of whether the media contributes a public good to U.S. democracy.

Not that her response was a surprise. On Wednesday, a reporter asked Sanders if she would condemn the heckling of Acosta at Trump’s rally. The president tweeted the heckling to his 53.5 million followers.

Rather than denounce what happened to Acosta, Sanders used that opportunity to rip the media. She didn’t help her contention when she seized on a debunked story about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Acosta tried again. His question is worth sharing in full because it felt like a moment that may stand out in the dozens of daily contentious moments between the Trump White House and journalists:

You did not say in the course of your remarks you just made that the press is not the enemy of the people. Are we to take it from what you just said — we all get put through the ringer, we all get put in the meat grinder in this town, and you’re no exception. I’m sorry that happened to you; I wish that would not have happened — but for the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world who are watching, what are you saying Sarah, and the White House for the United States of America, the president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the American people. His own daughter acknowledged that and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.

Sanders did not take him up on that: “I appreciate your passion, I share it. I addressed this question, I addressed my personal feelings. I’m here to speak on behalf of the president. He’s made his comments clear.”

Acosta walked out of the press briefing before it was over. He was downright exasperated.

Bashing the media to gain leverage with one’s supporters is a tactic as old as American politics. But Trump has taken it to new heights by using language that dictators of history also have seize on. He’s exploited heavy public skepticism in journalism to cast journalists as the main villains when things go wrong in his administration. As The Fix’s Eugene Scott wrote after a man gunned down journalists at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis in June:

Those disinclined to trust the media get reinforcement when highly influential politicians and partisan media figures elevate the critiques, sometimes making personal jabs at journalists’ motives and their character. What may start as a difference of opinion eventually becomes a direct assault on the humanity of those in the media — something that those following press freedom issues have witnessed in other parts of the world.

A sitting Republican senator, Jeff Flake (Ariz.), started out 2018 by comparing Trump to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin over his attacks on the media.

At the same time, there is less room for journalists to make mistakes now that Trump has made them a central character in his own political story. On Wednesday a Politico reporter apologized for calling the Trump supporters cursing out Acosta “garbage people.” His apology made national headlines.

None of this is fading anytime soon. It’s a safe bet things are only going to get worse between journalists and the White House and some of Trump’s supporters before — if — they get better. What that will do to journalism, to politics, to democracy is an open, even scary question.

[Washington Post]

Trump shares son’s tweet backing supporters chanting ‘CNN sucks’

President Trump on Tuesday night shared his son Eric Trump‘s tweet backing supporters chanting “CNN sucks.”

“#Truth @Acosta,” Eric Trump wrote, in reference to CNN’s Jim Acosta. Eric Trump wrote the message in his retweet of a video with the caption “WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally.”

The president retweeted Eric shortly afterward. His retweet came after a campaign-style rally on Tuesday night in Florida, in which he made fun of the press several times, falsely claiming they “suppress” polls that indicate positive approval ratings for his presidency.

Acosta himself replied to Eric Trump. “No, Eric,” Acosta tweeted. “Not the truth. And you know better.”

The president frequently incites his supporters in chants against the news media, decrying them as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.”

Trump often specifically targets CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Last week, the Trump administration came under fire for refusing to allow CNN’s Kaitlan Collins to attend a press event because they said she asked questions inappropriately.

Trump has refused to take questions from Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, several times.

During his European trip in July, Trump refused to answer a question from Acosta, claiming that he does not support “fake news.” He instead took questions from Fox News’s John Roberts.

Last year, Trump said he would not take a question from Acosta during a press conference.

“Your organization is terrible,” Trump told Acosta.

Earlier in the day, Acosta tweeted a video of a crowd of Trump supporters jeering, holding up their middle fingers and yelling “stop lying!” at him.

[The Hill]

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