Death of the Media
Continuing with the nutty press conference yesterday…
“Acosta’s “hard pass” issued by the Secret Service, which speeds up entry to the White House grounds, was revoked by the Trump administration on Wednesday night. The White House said his pass was suspended “until further notice.” Why? Because of Wednesday’s combative press conference.”
Here’s what happened in seven steps:
1. Acosta asked multiple Q’s
Trump hewed to tradition by holding a post-midterms presser. Acosta was one of the first reporters he called on. Trump leaned into the mic and said, “Here we go” — seemingly relishing the confrontation.
Acosta brought up the migrants traveling from Central America toward the U.S. southern border, and the racist “caravan” ad that the Trump campaign released last week. “As you know, Mr. President, the caravan is not an invasion,” Acosta said. Trump said he thinks it IS an invasion, and back and forth they went. Acosta pointed out the migrants are hundreds of miles away; Trump insulted CNN; and called on NBC’s Peter Alexander to ask the next question. Acosta tried to follow up, pointing out that other reporters had also asked multiple Q’s. “That’s enough,” Trump said.
A White House intern tried to take the mic from Acosta and hand it to Alexander, but Acosta held on to it. “Pardon me, ma’am,” he said. “Peter, let’s go,” Trump said. But Acosta got in his Q: “If I can ask, on the Russia investigation, are you concerned that you may have indictments coming down…”
“I am not concerned about anything with the Russian investigation because it is a hoax,” Trump said, “That is enough, put down the mic.”
Acosta asked the question again and then let go of the mic.
2. Trump ripped into Acosta
While Alexander started to ask his question, Trump turned to Acosta and said, “I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them.” He pointed at Acosta: “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.” A moment later, he spit out his “enemy of the people” line.
May I remind you, this was televised live on all the major networks and cable news channels.
Alexander deserves a lot of credit for speaking up in Acosta’s defense: “I’ve traveled with him and watched him, he is a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us,” Alexander said.
“Well I’m not a big fan of yours either, to be honest,” Trump said, prompting laughs in the room. Alexander didn’t miss a beat and asked his Q…
3. CNN called Trump’s attacks on the press “disturbingly un-American”
I’ll come back to the presser later, but I want to highlight the statement that CNN put out right after the testy exchange.
“This President’s ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far,” CNN PR said. “They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere.”
4. Trump’s allies claimed “assault”
This is when it got ridiculous. Some Trump boosters alleged that Acosta had mistreated the W.H. intern. They used words like “pushed” and “slammed.” They screamed “assault” and “abuse.”
All of this was contradicted by the video, which you can watch here, but it became a huge story in the conservative media universe. Mediaite’s Ken Meyer said right-wing media had a “meltdown.” Twitter trolls and even some high-profile conservative commentators said Acosta’s credentials should be revoked.
5. Something happened at the W.H.
This part is still a mystery. Who decided to take action against Acosta? When and why?
6. Acosta tried to re-enter the grounds
In the 7 p.m. hour, Acosta tried to re-enter the W.H. grounds for a live shot on “Anderson Cooper 360.” He was stopped at the Pennsylvania Avenue gate where reporters usually enter — and told to turn in his hard pass.
Acosta recorded the incident on his phone. “I was just told to do it,” a Secret Service officer said on the recording.
Around the same time, Sanders issued a statement announcing the press pass suspension and calling Acosta’s conduct “absolutely unacceptable.” She said the W.H. will “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”
Many reporters have come to Acosta’s defense. Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller, one of CNN’s biggest critics, tweeted that Acosta “did not ‘place his hands’ on the intern. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest he did. And after Trump joked about Gianforte bodyslamming Ben Jacobs, the White House can’t bust out the fainting couch now…”
7. WHCA: This is “unacceptable”
NYT chief W.H. correspondent Peter Baker tweeted, “This is something I’ve never seen since I started covering the White House in 1996. Other presidents did not fear tough questioning.” And the NYT’s DC bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller said, “The president should not pick and choose who covers him, and he should certainly not force out a representative of one of the country’s leading news organizations.”
Leaders of the White House Correspondents’ Association immediately went to work drafting a statement. They called the W.H. action “out of line” and “unacceptable.”
Key line: “We urge the White House to immediately reverse this weak and misguided action.”
Other advocacy groups have also weighed in. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said Sanders’ “false description of the events leading up to it is insulting not only to the nation’s journalists, but to its people.”
You want a Constitutional Crisis? We’ve already had it.
Look, I hate CNN’s shouty panel shows and pontificating poltroons as much as anyone and probably more than most. That said, their actual hard news is pretty good. Acosta is not any kind of enemy of the people, he’s a real reporter. This White House is trying its damnedest to make Fox News the official State Media, and everyone else is going to sooner or later get put in Acosta’s place.
This shouldn’t happen in the United States.
If the Villagers do not yet understand that they are the first victims in the fascist take-over of the United States by the Fourth Reich, it is probably too late. All of them should cut off the breathless, fawning, incessant 24×7 media coverage of every brain fart that Hair Füror has.
Cut to cat dancing videos when he has a press conference, CNN.