Score One For The Freedom Of The Press …

I awoke yesterday morning to the little blue light flashing on my phone … breaking news from both The Washington Post and the New York Times.  Jim Acosta and CNN had won round #1.  I did a gleeful cackle.  Earlier in the week, after Acosta’s press credentials were revoked by the White House for no real reason other than that Acosta held Trump’s feet to the fire, asked a damn uncomfortable question, CNN filed suit against the White House. 

The case, CNN v. Donald J. Trump, has come to symbolize the dysfunctional dynamic between the White House press corps and a president who denigrates its work as “fake news” and refers to it as “the enemy of the people”.

Yesterday morning, Judge Timothy J. Kelly of United States District Court in Washington ruled that the White House had behaved inappropriately in stripping Mr. Acosta of his press badge and ordered that his credentials be restored.  It is a small victory and a temporary one, for it is pending the outcome of the trial which could drag on for months, or even years.  BUT … the part that gave me cause for glee was that Judge Kelly was appointed by none other than Donald Trump! There may be some Trump appointees who are so grateful to Trump that they will sacrifice justice to please him (think Brett Kavanaugh), but obviously there are some who still believe in the letter of the law and in upholding the Constitution.

Judge Kelly criticized the administration for its false claim that Mr. Acosta had placed his hands on a White House intern during the news conference. The judge called it “likely untrue and at least partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy.”  He also said that the White House’s decision-making was “so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me … who made the decision.”

Acosta has had widespread support among the media.  More than a dozen news outlets — from the Associated Press to USA Today, The Washington Post and Politico, and even Trump’s own Fox News have filed friend-of-the-court briefs to support CNN and Jim Acosta’s lawsuit against President Trump and several top aides.  Fox went further than most other media companies on Wednesday, issuing a statement that said, “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.”  CNN and Fox have been rivals, sometimes bitterly so, for two decades — but Jim Wallace, president of Fox News, said this case is about the free press.

And you might ask how the White House responded to the news …

“We will end up back in court, and we will win.” – Donald Trump

“We support a free press, but freedom of the press doesn’t mean freedom to be disruptive, freedom to be rude, freedom to interrupt and impede the ability of colleagues from actually being able to do their jobs, as well as White House staff being able to do theirs.” – Sarah Huckabee Boot-Licker Sanders

Sarah’s daddy, Mike Huckabee, a once-respected politician (governor of Arkansas), was asked to fill in for Sean Hannity on the Sean Hannity show on Friday.  His guest?  None other than his own daughter, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.  Take a look …

Now, I have no problem with expecting a certain level of civility and ‘decorum’ if you will, but … I’m scratching my head here, for it seems to me that the person who has been most bombastic, most disrespectful and uncivil, most … horrifyingly cruel and vicious … is none other than Donald Trump himself!  I have thrice watched the segment of the press conference that cost Jim Acosta his credentials, and have not found a single sentence of disrespect from Acosta.  Trump, on the other hand, was crass and rude.  So … who should have his access to the White House revoked?

Every president in history has, from time-to-time had difficulties with the press.  It is nothing new or unusual.  Other presidents, however, have always understood that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the press the right to do their job, to inform the citizens of the U.S. about the actions of their government.  Trump forgets … or plain doesn’t care … that we have a right to know.  Trump once, long ago, promised to ‘drain the swamp’, and to make government more transparent.  Instead, he has brought in a new, especially virulent breed of swamp critter and instead of transparency, he is attempting to put up black-out shutters on the White House.  He has threatened to revoke the credentials of any reporter who isn’t nice to him.  He and Sarah speak of ‘respect’ and ‘decorum’, but neither of them treat the press or the public with respect or decorum.  

The first round in what may be a long and ugly battle has gone to CNN, and I hope they persevere, but there isn’t a doubt Trump will fight to the bitter end, because he believes he has the right to control what the people of this nation can know.  Foreign Policy magazine recently published an article titled “10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator”.  Number one on the list, the very first thing, was “Systematic efforts to intimidate the media”.  Let us hope that Judge Kelly continues to rule with the Constitution in mind and does not bend under pressure from Trump & Sarah.  We have a right … both moral and legal … to know what our government is doing and why, and our only avenue to gain such knowledge is a free press.  We must keep the press free … free from being stifled, free from being harassed, free to tell us what our government is doing.  Keep your eye on the ball, folks, for this was only round #1.

14 thoughts on “Score One For The Freedom Of The Press …

  1. Dear Jill,

    The president has a winning issue with his voters which is why he attacks the press, the very first constitutional amendment allowing for the ‘freedom of the press.’ He cannot get away with chipping against this most basic pillar of the US democracy. So far, the press is not giving in to the pressure from the White House.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, the freedom of the press is essential. At the end of the movie “The Post” about the Pentagon Papers, they use the actual audio tape of Richard Nixon telling an aide that no one from The Washington Post is to be allowed on the White House grounds, not even to visit with his wife Pat.

    As for Acosta, he is not perfect as he is a little self-centered, but his crime was for relentlessly questioning the King. Trump does not like questions that make him look bad. I also found that his picking on several African-American female reporters very telling.

    At the heart of this is the US President is a very untruthful man. So, there are few stupid questions that can be asked of this man. I have noted before the lying is one thing, but making decisions off the lying is quite troubling whether the lies were used during the campaign or after the election.

    So, moreso than with any other President, the press is essential. It is so essential, even the news portion of Fox News see the danger from this lying President. Keith

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    • I have not seen that movie, and in fact didn’t know it existed! (Yes, I’ve been living in a cave in Siberia most of my life, apparently!!!) Yes, Acosta tends toward arrogance … BUT … he’s one of the few who are trying to really hold Trump’s feet to the fire, to ask the tough questions over and over, trying to get an answer. I truly admire his approach, and think it may be the best one with Trump. Those who pander to his ego and ask the easy questions that he can answer while patting himself on the back, don’t interest me, for all we get is Trump’s party line.

      I hope the people of this nation, even his blind-faith followers, will defend the freedom of the press, even if they don’t defend anything else. I was impressed that even Fox News wrote an amicus brief defending Acosta & CNN. I bet that didn’t sit well with ol’ Trumpie!

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  3. I think CNN is so disgusted they’ll stick it out to the end. POTUS has chosen people for positions in the past and expected them to be faithful to him alone. Jeff Sessions was an example. He’s been described as a “hanging judge” but an honorable man. POTUS never forgave him and has now fired him. I hope the judge on this case is an honorable man. Most Americans cannot abide by a dictator. If they can they have their heads screwed on wrong. —- Suzanne

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    • I hope that CNN does stick it out … they are backed by the White House Correspondents Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists, not to mention most of the other mainstream media outlets, including Fox News! It seems that bout 40% of this nation do, indeed, have their heads screwed on backward. But I am hopeful that there is still enough justice that Trump will be shown he cannot stifle the press, for otherwise we are doomed.

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  4. Your superhero best arrive on the scene soon. The Orange Villian is still in the ascendent, and unless his wings get clipped soon, he will never come back to land. He will be free to poop orange anywhere it pleases him.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The days seem have gone when you would hear politicians properly questioned and then listen to their answers. Now it’s just a series of strictly controlled photo opportunities and sound bites. Free press doesn’t fit with that. It’s all starting to feel a bit too like one of those dark dystopian sci-fi movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh … you must be referring to those long ago days of “Civil Discourse” … days of “Respect” and the days when we didn’t have to agree, but could still act like human beings and treat others humanely. I vaguely remember those days. We have sunken to all new lows in the last few years here, but is it the same there? I really thought you guys were better than us in the sense of manners and decorum. Sigh. Some days I think the whole world has gone off it’s rocker!

      Like

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