CNN Lawsuit Seeks To Show That Trump Can't Kick Reporters Out For Asking Tough Questions

from the but-what-about-the-flip-side? dept

As you’ve probably heard by now, last week there was a bit of a scuff up in which the President in his standard manner got irritable and annoyed when CNN’s Jim Acosta kept asking questions the President didn’t feel like answering. This has resulted in a bunch of nonsense involving everyone trying to justify their own side’s talking points — but the simple fact of the matter is that it’s a journalist’s job to ask tough questions of politicians. There was a made up controversy involving claims that Acosta “assaulted” an intern who sought to take away his microphone, and the White House supported it with video evidence that some have claimed was doctored, while others have noted just happened (coincidentally) to have been re-encoded in a way that made Acosta’s hand motions look more menacing than they really were. Either way, the end result was that the White House removed Acosta’s press pass, claiming it was because of what happened with the intern, when literally everyone knows it was because of his questioning (if you want to honestly argue that it was because of the intern, go away).

On Tuesday, CNN announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the White House over the removal of the press pass, arguing that it violated both 1st Amendment and 5th Amendment rights. CNN and Acosta are represented by Ted Boutrous and Ted Olson (along with some other Gibson, Dunn lawyers) which is some serious firepower as they’re two of the most high profile lawyers out there. Olson, a former Solicitor General during the George W. Bush administration, was rumored earlier this year to be considering joining Trump’s legal team, before declining. And now he’s suing Trump’s White House.

The filing is only 18 pages and makes for fairly quick reading. The 1st Amendment claims are basically this:

Defendants initially claimed that they revoked Acosta?s press pass because he ?plac[ed] his hands? on an intern. That contention is not accurate. The President himself has stated that the Acosta?s conduct was not ?overly horrible? and that Acosta?s credentials were actually suspended because he failed to ?treat the White House with respect.?

Defendants? justifications for impeding Plaintiffs? First Amendment rights are hollow and hardly sufficiently compelling to justify the indefinite revocation of Acosta?s White House credentials. Consequently, the only reasonable inference from Defendants? conduct is that they have revoked Acosta?s credentials as a form of content- and viewpoint-based discrimination and in retaliation for Plaintiffs? exercise of protected First Amendment activity.

The sole justification for Defendants? conduct is their dislike for Plaintiffs? coverage of the administration and critique of the President. But that is insufficient to justify such a substantial restriction on Plaintiffs? First Amendment rights.

The 5th Amendment claims are basically a “due process” claim:

Plaintiffs have protected liberty and property interests in Acosta?s press credentials and the access it affords to the White House. The credentials allow Acosta access to his office in the White House and allow him to do his job effectively. Absent his credentials, he cannot serve as a White House correspondent.

Acosta received no direct notice from the White House that his credentials had been revoked, let alone any notice prior to the revocation. Instead, the White House announced the revocation itself via Twitter after Defendants already decided to effectively ban Acosta from the White House grounds.

Defendants did not provide Plaintiffs a written explanation, nor any explanation at all, before revoking Acosta?s press credentials. The only written explanation was a short statement posted on Twitter that Acosta was suspended because he ?plac[ed] his hands? on a White House staffer. Even if this tweet were accurate?and it is not, as the reportedly doctored video Defendant Sanders posted would later show?it would not suffice to demonstrate prior notice of the revocation.

Defendants did not provide Plaintiffs an opportunity to be heard before revoking Acosta?s press credentials. Nor have they provided him any avenue to challenge or appeal the revocation of his credentials. Rather, Defendants have stated that they do not plan to ever rescind the revocation of Acosta?s credentials.

There are good reasons to think that CNN/Acosta may have a decent chance of prevailing. The key case, as many are pointing out, is the DC Circuit’s ruling in Sherrill v. Knight, which more or less says that if the government opens up a briefing to the press, it can’t arbitrarily deny a member of the press entrance. That ruling makes it clear that the President doesn’t need to grant interviews to anyone who comes asking, but he can’t arbitrarily bar a member of the press from an open press briefing. And the court also includes a due process requirement.

On the 1st Amendment claim in that case, the court noted that the White House needs to have a compelling interest in keeping a reporter out, and the details of the standards used by the White House need to be clear:

Given these important first amendment rights implicated by refusal to grant White House press passes to bona fide Washington journalists, such refusal must be based on a compelling governmental interest. Clearly, protection of the President is a compelling, “even an overwhelming,” interest, Watts v. United States, 394 U.S. 705, 707, 89 S.Ct. 1399, 22 L.Ed.2d 664 (1969), and we have no basis for rejecting the explicit finding of the District Court that the record in this case demonstrates that denial of a press pass to appellee proceeded solely from concern for “the physical security of the President.” 416 F.Supp. at 1036 n.10. However, this standard for denial of a press pass has never been formally articulated or published. Merely informing individual rejected applicants that rejection was for “reasons of security” does not inform the public or other potential applicants of the basis for exclusion of journalists from White House press facilities. Moreover, we think that the phrase “reasons of security” is unnecessarily vague and subject to ambiguous interpretation.

Therefore, we are of the opinion that appellants must publish or otherwise make publicly known the actual standard employed in determining whether an otherwise eligible journalist will obtain a White House press pass. We do agree with appellants that the governmental interest here does not lend itself to detailed articulation of narrow and specific standards or precise identification of all the factors which may be taken into account in applying this standard. It is enough that the Secret Service be guided solely by the principle of whether the applicant presents a potential source of physical danger to the President and/or his immediate family so serious as to justify his exclusion. See A Quaker Action Group v. Morton, 170 U.S.App.D.C. 124, 516 F.2d 717 (1975). This standard is sufficiently circumspect so as to allow the Secret Service, exercising expert judgment which frequently must be subjective in nature, considerable leeway in denying press passes for security reasons. At the same time, the standard does specify in a meaningful way the basis upon which persons will be deemed security risks, and therefore will allow meaningful judicial review of decisions to deny press passes. We anticipate that reviewing courts will be appropriately deferential to the Secret Service’s determination of what justifies the inference that an individual constitutes a potential risk to the physical security of the President or his family.

And it also notes a 5th Amendment issue:

In our view, the procedural requirements of notice of the factual bases for denial, an opportunity for the applicant to respond to these, and a final written statement of the reasons for denial are compelled by the foregoing determination that the interest of a bona fide Washington correspondent in obtaining a White House press pass is protected by the first amendment. This first amendment interest undoubtedly qualifies as liberty which may not be denied without due process of law under the fifth amendment. The only further determination which this court must make is “what process is due,” Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 481, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 33 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972).[23] We think that notice to the unsuccessful applicant of the factual bases for denial with an opportunity to rebut is a minimum prerequisite for ensuring that the denial is indeed in furtherance of Presidential protection, rather than based on arbitrary or less than compelling reasons. See Greene v. McElroy, 360 U.S. 474, 496-97, 79 S.Ct. 1400, 3 L.Ed.2d 1377 (1959); Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306, 314, 70 S.Ct. 652, 94 L.Ed. 865 (1950); Grannis v. Ordean, 234 U.S. 385, 394, 34 S.Ct. 779, 58 L.Ed. 1363 (1914). The requirement of a final statement of denial and the reasons therefor is necessary in order to assure that the agency has neither taken additional, undisclosed information into account, nor responded irrationally to matters put forward by way of rebuttal or explanation.

That ruling is likely to make this a tough case for the Trump White House. For what it’s worth, many are highlighting that the case in the district court has been assigned to Judge Timothy Kelly, who is a Trump appointee, though I wouldn’t read very much into that. Kelly has already ordered the White House to file a response this morning, and there will be a hearing held this afternoon, so things are moving quickly.

I’ve seen some people, perhaps reasonably, arguing that CNN filing this lawsuit is a distraction — and one that plays into Trump’s claims that the press is out to get him. I’m not sure I buy that, as Trump’s supporters already believe that, and this isn’t likely to change anyone’s mind. But more clearly establishing rules for the press to be declined press passes is an interesting question. Of course, it’s also one where I wonder if many of the people cheering this on would be freaking out if things were in reverse. Imagine a Democratic President denying a press pass to Infowars and/or Breitbart — and imagine how a CNN victory in this case might be used in such a scenario.

Frankly, I think the issue here should be rather straightforward: if the government is holding a press conference, it should have clearly defined content-neutral rules for who qualifies for a press pass. If the press pass is in any way contingent upon the type of coverage, that would be unconstitutional. But other rules that are more objective and apply across the board seem perfectly reasonable. Over the years we’ve had many stories on journalists from more alternative outlets being denied press passes for dubious reasons, and on the whole I think governments should be much more inclusive of media. But, at the very least, if the decisions are based on the content of their reporting, it would appear to be entirely unconstitutional. And here it is abundantly obvious that Acosta was removed for reasons related to his content, with the claims about contact with the intern being purely pretextual.

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Comments on “CNN Lawsuit Seeks To Show That Trump Can't Kick Reporters Out For Asking Tough Questions”

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169 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: so?

In this instance, he was given a chance to ask a question, Trump gave his response, and Acosta refused to allow give up the microphone to allow the “next” to proceed; thus, Acosta was denying other reporters their first amendment rights for access.

I think that there should be the ability to revoke passes from any reporter who doesn’t act equitably, and disrupts the proceedings to grandstand and make the story themself.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: so?

Acosta isn’t the government so he is unable to violate others 1st Amendment rights.

The ability to revoke passes b/c of perceived ‘mean coverage’ & HE grandstanded not the President who threw a temper tantrum… gotcha.

Or in the alternative, you avoid answering the question, you move on to someone else, and repeat his time is done without sending in an intern to attempt to rip the mic away…

You also might not want to runs for leader of the ‘free’ world if you can’t handle someone in the media reporting what you said & not retracting it when you changed your mind 3 minutes later, then try to claim they made it all up as video of you saying it runs on the split screen.

You’re not acting equitably… can we ban you from the internet before you try to grandstand and make it all about you and not about a reporter asking hard question of the leader of the country who stuck his fingers in his ears and went nyayayayaya I can’t hear you while repeating, yet again, the false narrative of it is all fake news because it doesn’t put him in the best light, it puts him in the cold light of reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 so?

I didn’t say he violated someone’s first amendment rights, I said he denied them their rights – and yes, that is something that another citizen can actually do.

“Or in the alternative, you avoid answering the question, you move on to someone else, and repeat his time is done without sending in an intern to attempt to rip the mic away.”

Have you even seen the video? Everything you’ve said is exactly what they tried to do first. Perhaps Trump should have just said “Ok, you won’t play nice, I’m calling an end to this session” and left. But then, no other reporter would get to ask their questions… either way Acosta gets to strut like a peacock. Acosta is just as big an asshole as Trump.

“You’re not acting equitably…”

Ok, now you’re just being an idiot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 so?

There were multiple microphones. A second can easily be seen in the video. If other press truly thought they were being denied they would have started to ask questions AND made a statement through the WHPC.

They did nither. Stop trying to justify Turmp’s retaliation thought bullshit.

Citizen says:

Re: Re: Re:4 so?

The idea that any other reporter objected to Acosta’s effort at a follow up question is a futile rationalization of this administration’s clear attempt to censor the free press. Many of his colleagues in fact vocally defended him, and are equally concerned that their opportunities to report are in peril. Permitting this episode of repression would be a lapse in protection of the free press that would only further the efforts of this administration to manipulate and conceal information without accountability.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 WH Press Passes

… so ANY American “journalist” has a Constitutional right to attend White House Presidential news Conference?
There is NO arbitrary selection process to pick the very few lucky reporters who get into that White House conference room?

What’s lost here is that the vast majority of journalists can not & never will get into a WH news conference.
There is a complex formal filtering process by major media organization and the White House staff to “select” journalists.
That selection can be reversed at any time by those private & government “selectors”,

CNN Acosta was not banned from the WH — he simply lost his “Hard” WH Press Pass that permited him to come And go as he pleases.

Acosta still retains a regular WH Press Pass which gives him routine WH press access.
The Constitution has absolutely nothing to do with who ACTUALLY gets in to that news conference

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: so?

He also assaulted the young inturn so he should keep on speaking. I saw the video. It put it had on your arm to push it away from the mic.

CNN has other people there. There’s no RIGHT to be there in the first place. If that was the case, why shouldn’t everyone else have that SAME RIGHT to go in there and ask our own questions or hear it in person. What makes THESE people so special? Do they have special rights above everyone else? I don’t think so!!!! They are only reporters and anyone can be just as much of a reporter as that crowd.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 so?

"He also assaulted the young inturn…"

If you think that’s assault being in a crowded room must be an absolute horror for you.

"CNN has other people there."

This is a specious argument. The point is not that someone else can’t replace Acosta, it’s that the next journalist might hold back on the hard questions for fear of being booted out. And that’s exactly the result they want. That chilling effect is what the First Amendment protects against.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: so?

I saw the so-called Unedited version. The guy still assaulted the young intern. Doesn’t matter if it as sped up some. It pushed at her arm to hold onto the mic!!! it’s as plain as day. He didn’t want to give up the mic to anyone else to ask questions. He had his questions answered and it should have been it. This reported is just a huge ahole and proves it over and over again to everyone he’s asking questions to is a very rude way. He sure wouldn’t act like this with Obama.

nerd bert (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is exactly what Obama did. He very rarely held press conferences, while Trump has been the most accessible modern President. You’d almost imagine he likes hearing himself talk. (/s for the humor impaired.)

Obama’s solution to avoiding questions was to give one-on-one interviews to smaller players in smaller markets where he was pretty sure he’d get softball questions. Trump thrives on the contention, on getting publicity from the press, and creating a foil in the grandstanding idiot Acosta.

There was talk about getting rid of daily briefings at the start of the Trump administration. If Acosta is required to be admitted they may well wish they had that many if Trump’s appetite for vengeance continues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/presidential-news-conferences

Obama: (avg per year) 20.50

Trump: 2017 – 21

Your one-on-one statement is also not true. See link above.

Note: This does not go into length of conferences, numbers of questions asked, etc which according to multiple articles this year are significantly shorter in minutes under the Trump presidency.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

*"The most likely result would be that the White House stops having these type of meetings altogether."

And at the moment that would be no great loss. SHS is one of the most disingenuous people to have ever had the position and the quality of the info provided is historically low. It’s a shame the media still think it’s a worthwhile effort.

Matt Bennett (profile) says:

Except no.

He’s being kicked out for being a disruptive asshole. Lots of reporters ask “tough questions”. Some even ask “tough questions” that aren’t, they are really biased position statements (usually liberal). That’s bad journalism, but it won’t get you kicked out.

What most don’t do is shout constantly over others, refuse to yield the floor, interrupt, and generally act more like a protestor in a suit than a reporter.

Right of free speech is not a right of free access. Accosta can say whatever he likes from the CNN offices, where people can choose to listen to him, or not, and it’s own mic he doesn’t have to give back.

But personally, I want to say “Fuck you, Mike”. I’ve follwed this site for ….decades? As long as you were around. I had you in my feed when RSS’s were still a thing. And you pretended to be “non partisan” then, but you weren’t, and now your politics have gotten NUTS. This isn’t about free speech, or law involving tech, this is just “Orange Man Bad” shit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Except no.

But personally, I want to say “Fuck you, Mike”. I’ve follwed this site for ….decades? As long as you were around. I had you in my feed when RSS’s were still a thing. And you pretended to be “non partisan” then, but you weren’t, and now your politics have gotten NUTS. This isn’t about free speech, or law involving tech, this is just “Orange Man Bad” shit.

If you believe this you:
A. Have not read any Techdirt in the last two years. they have always been about free speech and its inclusion into tech. At least as long as I have been reading them.

B. You may want to watch the actual video of the even instead of reading a biased description. He was not shouting, he was doing his job of getting a straight answer from a president who refused to give one.

But even if he did refuse to give the floor (he did not, but lets play this false game), so what? There is no “one question, one reporter” rule. This is arbitrarily adding conventions after the fact to justify removing a reporter he does not like. this is especially funny coming from an administration that outright flaunts that they abide by no normal convention.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

YAY Lets suck all of the air out of the room so we don’t discuss real problems the country is facing.

While access of the press is important, the man they are covering lies repeatedly, and the press just smiles & nods about it.

If you wanted it to end faster, the press corp would have done the 1 thing Trump couldn’t handle… Not show up.
Now he knows this gambit will work & at worst he gets a chiding about having done it, but reporters are aware they can and will be removed from reporting if he gets angry with their coverage.

Getting little to no coverage featuring him would drive him batty. Hell the lack of watching himself on the screen might leave him bored enough to consider running the country…

stine (profile) says:

Re: sucking the air out of the room

Wow, do you really think CNN, or the NYT, LAT, AJC, SLT or CT could stage a no-press press conference? There’s no law that says the press must attend. Imagine the camera panning around the room during a press conference attended only by a single wire reporter from the AP or UPI. It would be like the grandstanding Representatives and Senators who give speaches to empty chambers on C-SPAN.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Nah. He would just go on Fox and Friends again and get his message out there.

The actual way to do it right is if Trump refuses to call on any CNN reporter, is to have the WHPC only ask questions on behalf of the CNN or defer their question to CNN.

That is how you show solidarity while also covering the essential news.

Jim says:

He said, she said

Understand I was watching the show, so, he got a response to a question, that was incomplete. Obscure, and qualified with only a partisan viewpoint. Otherwise known as a lie. He asked for a better explanation. And a redirected awnser. The third time the aid assaulted the speaker of the question.
Truth is not a game, exept to those who do not want the public to know of it. Truth is not a partisan viewpoint. It’s not a weapon, or an opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

If there are real concerns over the security of Trump press conferences like that, these can be made by videoconferencing. Nothing requires him to be physically there at all. The press doesnt need to be threathened with loss of access because they ask questions the administration doesn’t like or want either. The public interest at stake here is too great to blame security concerns and be done with it. Chilling the freedom of speech of the press is too big a threat to the public interest.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Acosta is a hack

He is not asking tough questions.

Damn straight! He should be asking the things the public wants to know, nay NEEDS to know…like "what’s Trump’s favorite color?", or "how great are North Korea’s beaches really?"

Anything else is just grandstanding or partisan hacking. Let’s ask the questions middle ‘Murica is really concerned about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Acosta is a hack

I can see it now: Post lawsuit “friends only” press briefings:

Doocy: “Mr. President… how awesome was your golf score yesterday? How many TRUE AMERICANS that morning praised your name when you passed them?”

Carlson: “Mr. President, the country needs to know….how many black people did you see committing crimes on the way to work today? Was it all of them? Were any also GYPSIES?”

O’Riley: “Am I still relevant?”

Cernovitch: “Mr. PResident…are you so smart and awesome because you take my gorilla brain pills every day?”

Jones: “ALIENS!”
Sanders “Mr. Jones…do you have a question?”
Jones: [Puts on tinfoil hat] “I have sent you a coded message, you may read it secretly to the President later”
Sandlers: “this is just an image of a whithered banana”
Jones: “THAT WAS PRIVATE, FOR THE PRESIDENTS EYES ONLY! I AM A VERY MANLY MAN!”
Hannity: “ME TOO! LOOK MR PRESIDENT I GOT YOUR NAME TATTOED ON ME!” [Hannity drops his pants]
Sanders: [sighs, pulls out a prepared card that reads “Read in case of manliness contest”, starts reading in monotone voice] “Mr. President has the biggest penis in the world. I have seen it myself. It is incredible. It is huge in all caps. It is especially bigger than Obamas, who is a tiny child compared to Mr. Trump. Thank You.”
Jones and Hannity [simultaneously]: I AGREE WITH TRUMP!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nah this is Trump. He will scream on Twitter, at campaign rallies and in threatening letters that he will sue everyone involved and run them. Talk about how he already won and has the best lawyers ever.

Then never, ever follow-up with an actual lawsuit because all of his real legal team would tell him he would never win.

then never mention it again and pretend he never threatened the lawsuits when asked.

It is his MO for decades.

Anonymous Coward says:

Q Okay. Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to challenge you on one of the statements that you made in the tail end of the campaign in the midterms, that this —

THE PRESIDENT: Here we go.

Q Well, if you don’t mind, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: Let’s go. Let’s go. Come on.

Q That this caravan was an “invasion.” As you know, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: I consider it to be an invasion.

Q As you know, Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for telling me that. I appreciate it.

Q Why did you characterize it as such? And —

THE PRESIDENT: Because I consider it an invasion. You and I have a difference of opinion.

Q But do you think that you demonized immigrants in this election —

THE PRESIDENT: Not at all. No, not at all.

Q — to try to keep —

THE PRESIDENT: I want them — I want them to come into the country, but they have to come in legally. You know, they have to come in, Jim, through a process. I want it to be a process.

And I want people to come in. And we need the people.

Q Right. But your campaign had — your campaign —

THE PRESIDENT: Wait. Wait. Wait. You know why we need the people, don’t you? Because we have hundreds of companies moving in. We need the people.

Q Right. But your campaign had an ad showing migrants climbing over walls and so on.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s true. They weren’t actors. They weren’t actors.

Q They’re not going to be doing that.

THE PRESIDENT: They weren’t actors. Well, no, it was true. Do you think they were actors? They weren’t actors. They didn’t come from Hollywood. These were — these were people — this was an actual — you know, it happened a few days ago. And —

Q They’re hundreds of miles of way though. They’re hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

THE PRESIDENT: You know what?

Q That’s not an invasion.

THE PRESIDENT: I think you should — honestly, I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN —

Q All right.

THE PRESIDENT: — and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.

Q But let me ask, if I — if I may ask one other question —

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, that’s enough.

Q Mr. President, if I may — if I may ask one other question.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, Peter, go ahead.

Q Are you worried —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s enough. That’s enough. That’s enough.

Q Mr. President, I didn’t — well, I was going to ask one other. The other folks that had —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s enough. That’s enough.

Q Pardon me, ma’am, I’m — Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, that’s enough.

Q Mr. President, I had one other question if —

THE PRESIDENT: Peter. Let’s go.

Q — I may ask on the Russia investigation. Are you concerned that you may have indictments —

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not concerned about anything with the Russia investigation because it’s a hoax.

Q — that you may indictments coming down? Are you —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s enough. Put down the mic.

Q Mr. President, are you worried about indictments coming down in this investigation?

Q Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: 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.

Go ahead.

Q I think that’s unfair.

THE PRESIDENT: You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.

Go ahead. Go ahead, Peter. Go ahead.

tom (profile) says:

Don’t really think the 1st Amendment has anything to do with this. For better or worse, the White House is Trump’s residence during his time in office. He can invite or not invite who ever he wants to his residence. Being invited to the White House is a privilege, NOT a right. Behave in a way that irritates the President, get kicked out. Fairly simple time honored concept.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Don’t really think the 1st Amendment has anything to do with this."

Decades of jurisprudence says you’re wrong, but feel free to explain why you know better.

"For better or worse, the White House is Trump’s residence during his time in office. He can invite or not invite who ever he wants to his residence."

The WH Press Briefing Room, and most of the rest of the building, is not Trump’s residence! It’s part of the government and subject to the same constitution as all other parts of the government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If I were a betting man, I would bet that he goes back to pouting and refuses to hold another one of these for a few weeks. He will call into Fox & Friends at least twice a week to make himself feel better as they stroke his ego.

Between now and then, he forces his press secretary to hold her briefings again instead. But “no questions allowed until some press promise to be civil.”

Steve Swafford (profile) says:

Every time I dare read the comments on the political posts, it get more and more clear that there’s no way one side is ever going to convince the other side of anything. One side feels one way, if you try to make your point as to way you feel that way, the other side either passive aggressively insults or aggressively insults you lol. It seems that with every post I see even touching on the subject of the president, there is only insults and never anyone every saying, “oh good point, I’ve never looked at it that way before” or “I didn’t know that before, thanks for pointing it out so I can look into it” It’s just insults. Makes someone sad when trying to just get a factual story without the attempts to get a jab in or two because you feel one way or the other. Are the days of just reporting facts without any slant to either side gone or is this just the way it is from now on? asking for a friend. 🙂

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

it get more and more clear that there’s no way one side is ever going to convince the other side of anything

In fairness, one “side” is working from a place of facts and realities, while the other “side” is working from a place of “fuck you, I’m right no matter what you or ‘the facts’ say”. Given the inclinations of our current POTUS, I hope you can guess which “side” is which.

One side feels one way, if you try to make your point as to way you feel that way, the other side either passive aggressively insults or aggressively insults you

I ask questions in good faith. Specifically, I tend to ask questions that start with how, what, and for what reason—open-ended questions that provide less of an opportunity for simple yes-or-no answers and more of an opportunity to create context and understanding. (I tend to avoid why, using for what reason in its place, to head off potential misunderstandings about “motives” [i.e., why people hold a certain opinion] and stick to the opinion/facts in play.)

with every post I see even touching on the subject of the president, there is only insults and never anyone every saying, "oh good point, I’ve never looked at it that way before" or "I didn’t know that before, thanks for pointing it out so I can look into it" It’s just insults.

Well, that is what our current POTUS does, so…

¯(ツ)

Are the days of just reporting facts without any slant to either side gone or is this just the way it is from now on?

The days of “just reporting facts without any slant” have never been here to begin with. Facts require context to make sense, and news outlets often have more facts on their hands than they can reasonably publish in a given day. Bias will always exist in journalism because (A) people are people and (B) someone must always decide what stories to print, what facts to check, what facts get into the stories that go to print, and what context those facts will be presented in. You can print only a raw transcript of Trump saying his typical bullshit and let everyone try to make sense of it themselves, or you can print parts of that transcript while providing the context of where he spoke, what (if anything) prompted him to speak, how his voice sounded and body language looked, and other such factors that could provide a (somewhat) better understanding of his bullshit.

Frankly, I think the best thing to do is ignore most of what he says—in person, on Twitter, whatever—and focus on both his direct actions and any speech/actions regarding Trump that are out of his control. If it comes from Trump, it is trolling; if something he says must be reported on, best to call him out on any lies (preferably by referring to them as “lies”) and provide proper facts/context to help readers understand why what he said is bullshit. “The caravan is an invasion!” sounds scary and makes the migrant caravan sound like an existential threat…until you learn that the caravan has a lot of women and children on it, was still hundreds of miles away from the border at the height of Trump’s “invasion” rhetoric, has only around 1,200 people on it, and was meant to give people who made plans for legal asylum requests a way to stick together and survive the trip. That is context; you can call it spin, but until you can provide a context based in fact (and not on Trump’s bullshit) that negates anything I have said here, that “spin” is based in a reality that Trump refuses to acknowledge because he is a racist.

Toom1275 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Trump Derangement Syndrome

The latest attempt by the alt-right to demonise anybody who thinks that maybe putting a reality TV star who’s declared bankruptcy six times in charge of the country might not have been the best idea.

So what if Trump only told the complete truth throughout 4% of his campaign, and had to settle out of court for that fraud trial, and that he reacts like a spoilt brat on Twitter to any kind of criticism? Geez, you libtard SJW snowflakes just have accept democracy won and stop exercising your right to free speech! You’re so negative with your Trump Derangement Syndrome!

Unanimous Cow Herd says:

Just wow!

I’ve seen a good share of anti-Trump bias here at TD, some of it justified, some of it not. This article, while covering the relevant aspects of the situation, is at it’s heart just another news org’s attempt to cover for bad behavior on CNN’s part. Acosta, nor anyone else, has a “right” to a WH press pass. They are issued selectively, and given CNN’s 95% negative coverage and daily twisting of the truth, I find it amazing that the organization as a whole hasn’t had their passes revoked with cause. There is a difference between being biased and outright fibbing. There is a difference between asking tough questions and arguing when you don’t like the answer. There is a difference between being persistent and being a bully. Acosta should be ashamed of his behavior at that conference and for behaviors prior. TD (and Masnick) should be ashamed of running to his defense in this manner. I’ve been a regular reader and occasional commenter here for more than a decade yet find myself ready to delete TD from my RSS.

Thad (profile) says:

I gather we’ve got some Fox News viewers in this thread.

They may be interested in this story:

Fox News backs CNN’s lawsuit against Trump administration (warning: autoplay video)

“FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized," [Fox News President Jay] Wallace said.

"While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Bingo. If allowed to stand, and if they’re on the sidelines or rooting for the president in this case, the next Dem president can ban them from events and the moment they object, respond with “well you didn’t care when Trump did it”. Even Fox is smart enough to know this is a terrible precedent to set.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

A win would be a loss… of their monopoly on access. Anyone claiming to be a journalist would be allowed into the press room on a rotation basis since the venue has limited space and kick Fox, CNN and others in the mainstream media out at times. I doubt this will be decided in their favor anyway so they have nothing to worry about.

Anonymous Coward says:

CNN will lose

Acosta had the right to be there as a guest in the Presidents house until he started harassing the President and refused to give up the microphone (an item owned by the White House).

Acosta can still cover the President, just not inside the Presidents home. So no rights are being violated. CNN has plenty of other employees to send.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: CNN will lose

Acosta can still cover the President, just not inside the Presidents home. So no rights are being violated. CNN has plenty of other employees to send.

By that twisted logic, even if journalists are imprisoned they can still report, just not outside of their prison cells. So no rights would be being violated in that case either. Besides, there would still be other, more compliant, journalists to send to report. Huh?

I don’t know if you have never read the First Amendment that you are commenting on, or if you just do not understand words like "abridged".

sumgai (profile) says:

Constitutional cite needed, please

… on the whole I think governments should be much more inclusive of media. But if the decisions are based on the content of their reporting, it would appear to be entirely unconstitutional.

Per my usual recalcitrance to take anyone’s statements at face value when they reference some particular law, I have to interject here that there is no Constitutional requirement that the President (nor any other Federal office holder) must hold open press conferences. In fact, it was only 105 years ago (less than half of our country’s age) that Woodrow Wilson held the first such. Sadly, the prevailing conventionally held wisdom that "open to one, open to all" is not a guaranteed right. The concept really hasn’t even been enshrined in law, at least not directly. Indirectly, I can see that in several ways, but not directly.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Constitutional cite needed, please

Per my usual recalcitrance to take anyone’s statements at face value when they reference some particular law, I have to interject here that there is no Constitutional requirement that the President (nor any other Federal office holder) must hold open press conferences.

No, but there’s a constitutional requirement that if they do, they can’t discriminate based on viewpoint.

Trump can choose not to hold press conferences at all. Or he can limit access to his press conferences based on some sort of neutral criteria — first come first serve, you have to wear pants, etc. But he can’t limit access to his press conferences based on a particular reporter’s political viewpoint.

That’s why they’re trying to push this "he assaulted the intern" narrative: because it would be legal to bar a reporter for committing assault. It is not legal to bar a reporter for asking the president a question he didn’t like.

Sadly, the prevailing conventionally held wisdom that "open to one, open to all" is not a guaranteed right. The concept really hasn’t even been enshrined in law, at least not directly. Indirectly, I can see that in several ways, but not directly.

You’re mistaken. Indeed, that was the principal argument in the recent ruling that Trump can’t block people on Twitter.

Here’s some further reading that may be useful:

Public forum, Wikipedia

Public forum doctrine, First Amendment Encyclopedia

sumgai (profile) says:

I must admit, I’m surprised at the reach, and the findings of preceding courts, that a civil disagreement can be forged (weaponized) into a criminal one. Yes, the government can’t legally interfere with a citizen’s activities without good cause, that’s the Liberty part of the First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth. But to say that an individual person can be dismissed for whatever cause is somehow… automatically a criminal action on the part of the dismisser? That’s not what the Founding Fathers meant when they formulated our Constitution and Amendments.

While you as a citizen are “free” to enter any government building or open place that conducts goverment business, there are good and sufficient reasons why you can’t enter each and every one of them… security being the highlight of this day and age, but we certainly didn’t start that just 17 years ago. Likewise, a newpaper or other outlet of news that holds itself out to the public as a source of information has no special “right” to enter a government structure that somehow negates the requirements placed on “normal” citizens.

Indeed, the only protections afforded to the Press are a freedom from government interference in what they print, and what spin they may impart to that information. The Founding Fathers may have intended that, in a polite society, members of the Press would be civil in their discourse with government personnel, and that was a failing, I’ll admit. But nonetheless, we’re stuck with what they gave us, and for the vast majority of the time, it’s worked out quite well, in my opinion.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I must admit, I’m surprised at the reach, and the findings of preceding courts, that a civil disagreement can be forged (weaponized) into a criminal one. Yes, the government can’t legally interfere with a citizen’s activities without good cause, that’s the Liberty part of the First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth. But to say that an individual person can be dismissed for whatever cause is somehow… automatically a criminal action on the part of the dismisser? That’s not what the Founding Fathers meant when they formulated our Constitution and Amendments.

I have no idea what you’re talking about. This is a civil suit.

While you as a citizen are "free" to enter any government building or open place that conducts goverment business, there are good and sufficient reasons why you can’t enter each and every one of them… security being the highlight of this day and age, but we certainly didn’t start that just 17 years ago.

Which would be relevant, if Acosta had had his press credentials revoked because he was considered a security risk.

Likewise, a newpaper or other outlet of news that holds itself out to the public as a source of information has no special "right" to enter a government structure that somehow negates the requirements placed on "normal" citizens.

Which is why any "normal" citizen can request a press pass to the White House press briefings, and the White House can choose who to issue a pass to based on neutral and objective criteria — but, per the past forty years or so of First Amendment case law, not based on that particular person’s political views.

The Founding Fathers may have intended that, in a polite society, members of the Press would be civil in their discourse with government personnel

LOLno.

Toomowut says:

Not a real journalist

If the reporter was really a news reporter and not paparazzi trying to justify his worth to his boss and the network was really a news network and not a tabloid entertainment network who realizes they are becoming irrelevant in todays high tech world….then I could be sorry for Acosta….but that’s not happening.

Deflate GrandPoobahs says:

Usually agree with you on almost every case.....

Not buying your argument here. Consider this just another example of capricious lawmaking by judges.

IMO:

1. Trump owes Acosta NOTHING.
2. Trump owes CNN NOTHING.
3. Trump can throw out anyone he wants at any time.
4. Citizens have a right to vote Trump out of office without cause. Our right.

There *is* bad blood between Trump and CNN. Things like this happen.

Let’s not make a federal case out of it. Just move on.

CNN should not be sueing. They should just try to place an even bigger badass in Acosta’s place. And kep a constantly replenished roster of badasses to send in. Each one tougher than the previous.

Their objective should be to make the president look bad. He keeps firing journalists.

Even Trump has a boss.

Anonymous Coward says:

Review the Video

“There was a made up controversy involving claims that Acosta ‘assaulted’ an intern who sought to take away his microphone…”

Howzabout the actual assault and battery of Acosta initiated by the intern during her attempted snatch of the mike? File charges against her and see what the BOO (Boob in the Oval Office) has to say. Totally wacky, probably popcorn-worthy, high jinks to ensue.

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