Well, gear up for more drama.
A federal judge has ruled in favor of CNN and their White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. In an early Friday ruling, the White House has been ordered to restore Acosta’s press pass.
> U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by President Trump, granted CNN’s request to restore the press pass for Acosta, giving him regular access to the White House grounds to cover events and press conferences.
> "I want to emphasize the very limited nature of this ruling," Kelly said Friday in granting the temporary restraining order in favor of CNN.
The problem began last week, after a[nother] heated exchange between Acosta and President Trump.
It was the day after the midterm elections. Trump, still attempting to spin the loss of the House to Democrats as a win, was on edge, and Acosta, a preening drama queen, in his own right, tangled with him for the world to see, since the presser was televised.
A young, female intern attempted to take the mic from Acosta, who refused to give it back. In fact, he brushed her arm away with the edge of his hand – a move some loyalists have attempted to frame as an assault.
Yes, it was rude and a bit arrogant. Acosta has an annoying habit of making these events about himself. Every presser is like a Hollywood screen test for the guy. It’s like he’s unaware that there are other reporters waiting to be heard.
That being said, he’s no Corey Lewandowski, so let’s dispense with the fainting couch-approaches to his exchange with the young intern. She wasn’t hurt. She may have been a bit embarrassed, but that’s it.
> In Wednesday’s court hearing, Kelly questioned the accuracy of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who said Acosta’s pass was revoked because he put his hands on the intern.
> “You have no position on the accuracy of that statement?” he asked.
Well, we know she tweeted out a doctored video from InfoWars, so there’s that.
In the Friday ruling, Judge Kelly didn’t touch the matter of the First Amendment. What he ruled was that it appears their Fifth Amendment case had merit, in that they argued Acosta’s right to due process was violated.
In other words, Acosta wasn’t allowed to argue his side or defend his position before having his pass revoked.
> CNN and Acosta argued that the president revoked the credentials because he didn’t like the questions Acosta was asking. The government countered that Acosta’s credentials were revoked for grandstanding and refusing to surrender the microphone to a White House intern so that another reporter could ask a question.
> When Acosta held onto the microphone at the Nov. 7 press conference, Trump called him a “rude, terrible person.”
> “You shouldn’t be working for CNN,” he said, later adding, “when you report fake news, which CNN does, a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”
And that is why CNN wins this. We have a president with impulse control issues, tossing out dangerous, anti-free press rhetoric, and whipping up his base.
You don’t have to like the coverage. You change the channel if it gets to you. What you don’t get to say is that an American news agency is the “enemy of the people” because you don’t like the coverage.
> Justice Department lawyer James Burnham said in court Wednesday that the president has broad discretion to choose who gets access to the White House. He argued that White House events are televised and Acosta could cover the press conference via the livestream.
> CNN’s attorney Theodore Boutrous said it’s a fundamental misconception to think Acosta could cover Trump by watching him on TV.
> Kelly ruled on Friday that Acosta has already suffered harm from not being able to cover the White House in the time since his press credentials were revoked. The judge said that sending another reporter with a hard pass does not make the harm to Acosta any less irreparable.
It was brought up on Wednesday that there may be other ways to reprimand Acosta, such as letting him keep his pass, that would give him access to the White House grounds, but restricting him from attending press conferences.
CNN and Acosta actually had some surprising backing in this case. Most notably, even Fox News spoke up on their behalf.
Friend of the court briefs were filed by the Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press (RCFP), and the White House Correspondents Association, who argued that what happened to Acosta and the subsequent court ruling could have “a chilling effect” on the media, given that Trump had said that there could be others who lost their press credentials.
> “In forcefully and unflinchingly questioning the President, Acosta was engaged in precisely the kind of constitutionally protected news gathering and questioning of the government that the First Amendment safeguards and upon which our democracy depends,” the group argued in its brief.
Ok. I don’t have a problem with that, but let’s not turn the guy into something he’s not. He’s no martyr.
He’s somebody who likes getting this president’s goat, and he likes drawing attention to himself. Obviously.
Here’s another question to ponder, as mentioned elsewhere: If Trump didn’t like the friction, himself, why call on Acosta? Avoiding him was always an option.
The answer is that they’re both drama queens. They’re made for each other, and we’ll see a rinse-and-repeat of this again in the near future.
You can bet on it.