Sunday , June 13 2021

The words and the looks are not enough. CNN must sue Trump for revoking Acosta's press pass.



The correspondent of the White House of CNN, Jim Acosta, is an intelligent and difficult journalist. It can also be a grandstand that seems to flourish in conflict with President Trump and does not always know when to stop his aggressive questioning.

But if you like the style of Acosta, it is clear that the White House crossed a bright line on Wednesday when it pulled out Acosta's "hard pass", which allows the access it needs to cover the White House.

That action is equivalent to punishing a press member to do his job of informing the public and then creating a false pretext to justify that relationship.

Trump de Acosta's distaste is well known and brought him to a new level in a news conference round on Wednesday, calling him "a rude and terrible person" whom CNN should be embarrassed to use.

To make matters worse, Sarah Sanders lied – and circulated a misleading edited video to recover – when she later said that Acosta was being punished for "putting her hands on a girl."

A member of the White House team was directed to get a microphone from the hands of Acosta; he certainly did not give up, but he was polite and came into physical contact with her for only a brief moment while moving his arm to protect the microphone.

I have heard several suggestions on how to respond to this reprisal to CNN or the press box: It should have been boycotted, a fall, a news blackout. And I read the strongly rewarded rewards of the Association of Correspondents of the White House, of CNN and others.

But the simple words are not enough. And a boycott or blackout not only opposes the central idea that journalists are there to inform the public, but also cede the informative sessions for the worst TruSophophants mp.

No, there's something more called: CNN should sue the White House Trump on the grounds of the First Amendment. And press rights groups, along with other media organizations, must adhere to create a united and powerful front. (Fox News, who benefited from the united front of the press body on his behalf when the White House of Obama tried to exclude it from some informative sessions in 2009, should pay that solidarity for the board).

"This deserves a strong response, and a lawsuit would be reasonable," said Jonathan Peters, a law professor at the University of Georgia and a correspondent for the press freedom of the Columbia Journalism Review.

He told me by email that the declared foundation to revoke the pass "was clearly a farce", and that the White House should be responsible.

"Nothing educates the government as much as a prize for damages," he said. (The statement, he said, would probably take the form of an action under a statute that authorizes suits against government actors to, among other things, deprive the rights of the First Amendment).

The legal question, he said, can be whether a journalist has a First Amendment right to access information or places closed to the public but generally open to pressure – and some lower courts said yes. (In Sherrill v. Horseman, or Circulation Court D.C. determined in 1977 that a journalist from the Nation should not be denied a press pass from the White House.)

Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Press Freedom, told me on Thursday that CNN "now has a legitimate claim that there has been reprisals – here's a line crossed."

His organization "absolutely" would support such an effort, he said, and suggested that a broader frame might be wise, one that includes the efforts of the Trump Justice Department, now before the Court of Appeals of the DC Circuit, to undo the merger of US $ 85,000 million between AT & T and Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

Granted, a suit is far from being a perfect solution. It would not solve the immediate problem of Acosta, and it may take months or even years to resolve.

It also feeds the type of controversy against the means Trump loves to generate and that benefits him politically.

And because a suit would generate news coverage, it would distract important issues like Trump by putting a loyalist in the general prosecutor's office after shooting Jeff Sessions.

Nothing that's good.

But far, much worse is to let an intimidating white house flee with retaliationHe won the press and made a lie about it.

For more by Margaret Sullivan, visit wapo.st/sullivan


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