After losing a legal battle to bar CNN’s Jim Acosta from the White House press briefings, the most dangerous administration to the First Amendment announced new “rules of conduct” for reporters covering their briefings.
Donald Trump hasn’t just attacked the media collectively, but also individually. He’s called them “fake news” and has accused questions of being stupid and even racist. Trump wants to dictate to the press how they cover him.
While Trump has attacked journalists April Ryan, Yamiche Alcindor, and Abby Phillip recently, most of his animosity is toward Acosta. While the administration and Trump supporters accuse Acosta of being out of control and irresponsible, it seems their criticism is empty. For example, to prove he’s terrible, they shared a doctored video of him created by the conspiracy website Infowars.
Their main issue with Acosta may be the way he questions the administration. Each of his questions starts with a preface. If you ask someone about something they said that’s not true, the preface usually includes the fact that your statement lacked facts. The Trump administration doesn’t like this. So, they have come up with new rules for the press.
The idiots in the White House who share from Infowars wants to tell the press how they should report.
The new rules include limits on follow-up questions, which are necessary when the first question remains unanswered. The reporters are to “yield the floor” after their question and physically give up the microphone to White House staff. Anyone who doesn’t obey the rules may have their press credentials revoked. According to Sabrina Siddiqui of The Guardian, “I don’t think that anyone has agreed to the rules because there’s no reason for the White House to dictate the terms about how reporters do their jobs.”
Reporters shouldn’t allow the White House or any politician to dictate how they do their jobs. This White House’s treatment is so bad that even Fox News sided with CNN and Jim Acosta in their fight to restore his credentials. Acosta is being accused of bad behavior by a president who shouts insults at women. This is also a president who has forgiven a foreign power for their murder of a journalist.
Trump’s war with the media starts by battling one reporter and banning him. That tactic will continue with others until the only outlets at White House press briefings are Breitbart, Daily Caller, Infowars, and Diamond and Silk. It works that way with freedom too. You take away one right before you move on to another. Trump is starting with freedom of the press. The only freedom of the press he believes in is their freedom to ask him softball questions, like Sean Hannity.
The press should not allow Trump to dictate how they do their jobs. They should continue to do it on their terms, and be willing to return to court each time Trump forces them to. They’re not defending one reporter or news outlet. They’re defending all of us. This isn’t about Jim Acosta.
New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker said, “It leaves this idea that they are going to be the judge of who gets to cover them based on some probably arbitrary criteria that they will be the only ones to determine. The idea that suddenly you’re going to try to determine who is polite enough to ask the president questions is just kind of ridiculous.”
A free press is an American institution. What’s truly ridiculous is a president trying to destroy it.
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