Jim Acosta abused his privileges as a member of the press

Jim Acosta abused his privileges as a member of the press
Sarah Sanders: If Acosta cant be an adult CNN needs to send somebody else | TheHill
On Friday, CBS White House Correspondent Major Garrett spoke with Larry OConnor on his radio show. During the segment, OConnor asked Garrett about White House press room decorum, and CNN reporter Jim Acostas recent behavior.

Initially, Garrett noted that he doesnt like to “critique other journalists in the way they ask and seek answers to their questions,” adding that he simply does his own work in the way he sees fit.

I certainly dont want you to critique one of your colleagues there in the press room. I guess I ask a broader question then. Taking Jim Acosta out of it, would you agree, Major Garrett, that there is a standard of conduct, there is [an] expected behavior from a White House correspondent that I think all of you would agree upon, right?

CNN reporter Jim Acosta returned to the White House on Friday after a judge mandated President Trumps administration restore his press pass. The White House revoked Acostas hard pass after a contentious exchange with Trump last week, prompting a lawsuit from CNN. But Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who was appointed by President Trump, said the White House did not provide Acosta with due process in its decision. The suit hasnt been completely decided, but the judge did grant CNNs request for a temporary restraining order that will allow Acosta to return to work. The judge also said the White House could still move again to revoke the pass if it provides Acosta with due process. Several media organizations, including Fox News, said earlier this week they would file amicus briefs in support of CNNs claim. [CNN, The Washington Post]

There is – no question about it. Its the most majestic political place in America, the White House. The only place second to that in my experience where I spent almost 15 years [is] the United States Congress. Its a little bit more rough and tumble there. It can be rough and tumble at times in the White House. But it is a place of institutional heft and commands institutional respect – and I will say on my behalf, the previous press conference we had with President Trump in the Rose Garden, the president looked at me, I thought he called on me, I stood up, the White House aide handed me the microphone, I began to speak to the President of the United States, President Trump looked at me and said, “No, behind you. Kaitlan [Collins],” with CNN.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended an inspection of what state media there described Friday as an “ultramodern tactical weapon.” This is the first time North Korea has publicly announced a weapons test since November 2017. This does not appear to be a nuclear device or a long-range missile, seeing as the country previously said it would suspend its nuclear and missile tests. A military expert told CBS News that a “tactical weapon” in North Korea would refer to a “weapon aimed at striking South Korea, including U.S. military bases,” while a South Korean government official told CNN that its likely a “multiple rocket launcher.” Another expert told CNN its probably not a missile, as South Korea would have detected that. The report comes as President Trump plans for a second summit with Kim in 2019. [CNN, CBS News]

Video: CNNs Jim Acosta returns to the White House (C-SPAN)

So I said, “Oh,” and what did I do? I handed back the microphone. Now, some of my colleagues might say, “What [did] you do that for? You had the microphone; you have a voice; you can speak.” The President of the United States said “not you.” To my way of thinking, thats enough. The president said, I didnt call on you, I called on somebody else. Alright then – and I didnt get a question that press conference. Some might say, “Well, you laid down,” and “you were too deferential.” I dont feel that way…

President Trump in recent weeks has been asking his aides and advisers if they think Vice President Mike Pence is loyal so often, they are getting “alarmed,” advisers tell The New York Times. While Trump has not explicitly told his advisers he wants to drop Pence in 2020, they reportedly think he may be growing “irritated” with the vice president. Aides apparently continue to tell Trump that Pence is loyal, and Trump did reaffirm that Pence would be on his 2020 ticket at a press conference last week. Instead, the Times suggests these ongoing questions could stem from how Trump is reportedly considering replacing White House Chief of Staff John Kelly with Pences Chief of Staff Nick Ayers. White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley later said Trump “absolutely supports the vice president.” [The New York Times]

So I deferred, hoping he might call on me again. He didnt. Thats how I orient myself to the institution. The person who occupies that institution is chosen by the country, and I respect the institution and the countrys choice, and Im there to – on behalf of everyone – ask questions and, most importantly, Larry, get answers.

Thats the whole part of this transaction. If youre not getting answers, then I think [theres] part of the job thats not reaching its fullest capability…

The Supreme Court has opted to hear arguments over President Trumps administrations decision to add a question of citizenship to the 2020 census, despite the controversial question already undergoing a trial in New York. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the addition in March, originally saying the Justice Department ordered the move. Emails later showed other White House officials directed the addition, including former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon. Several state attorneys general then challenged the census question in court. Last month, the Supreme Court refused to allow a deposition of Ross in the New York case. The question has faced criticism from advocates who say undocumented people will avoid answering the census out of fear, leading to undercounts. [The Washington Post, NPR]

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While OConnor commended Garretts answer, he continued to press him on the interaction between Trump and Acosta:

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I guess what I want you to answer is, if you can understand how any American watching what has transpired over the last several weeks – and certainly the last press conference – if we agree that there is an acceptable code of conduct for a White House correspondent, can you understand how an average American watching what transpired there would say, “Well, thats got to breach and go beyond the appropriate code of conduct”? I think that many people watching, setting aside the First Amendment arguments for a moment, would say, “Yeah, I think the president might have a point in saying, I dont wanna deal with this guy anymore.”

Garrett once again replied without directly insulting Acosta – but he also stressed that the role of a White House correspondent is not to be the show, but to ask questions and get answers:

After burning for more than a week, the Camp Fire has left 71 dead and more than 1,000 missing throughout Northern California. Firefighters have contained 50 percent of the blaze as of Friday night, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The fire has also unleashed some of the dirtiest air in the world to cities hundreds of miles away, leaving air quality as poor as cities in China and India. Its nearly impossible to navigate the fog surrounding the fire, and hospital workers say reports of respiratory complications have surged. Nearly 200 miles away in San Francisco, the citys iconic trolleys have been pulled from the streets and residents have taken to wearing respiratory masks. [The New York Times, CBS News]

They very well might, and my interpretation of that, Larry, is all of these questions are best resolved through the political channels that our country has long developed and long relied upon, and thats why…I do my level best to not put myself or make myself part of the story, and I think the best journalists operate that way.

Democrat Stacey Abrams on Friday said that it was not possible for her to win the gubernatorial race in Georgia, admitting defeat against Republican Brian Kemp, who had already declared victory in the hotly contested race. On Election Day, the race was too close to call, and Abrams accused Kemp of suppressing votes as Georgias secretary of state in an effort to become governor. “I acknowledge that [Kemp] will be certified the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial elections,” Abrams said, saying her remarks were not a concession speech. “Concession means to acknowledge an act is right, true or proper. … I cannot concede that.” She said she would file a federal lawsuit to contest the “gross mismanagement” of the election. [NPR]

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Because, again, I go back to that fundamental point. Why are you standing up to ask a question in the first place? To get an answer. Whys that answer important? Because it tells the country something it didnt already know. Thats the whole point of this interaction with the American presidency. To inform the public of what they have not yet learned.

After she was ousted at Melania Trumps request, Mira Ricardel reportedly turned down an ambassador job

WASHINGTON: Why do certain people get press passes to the White House and others dont? Do only certain special people get to exercise their freedom of press rights? On Fox News, A.B. Stoddard said she thought it was wrong that a major news outlet should ever be denied access to the White House and President.  Why? Does CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS reporters have the right to demand access to the White House.

Jim Acosta – the president has seen your actions. The American people have seen your tantrums. And the world has watched you make a mockery out of journalists in the United States. Youve won the battle of being reinstated. Dont blow it. Be polite. When youre given the opportunity to ask a question, ask ONE question. Dont go into a Twitter rant at the microphone. Its rude to the Trump administration and the other journalists in the room. Youre not more important than any other reporter sitting to your left and your right. Show them the same respect that they show you and you wont have to worry about your access being revoked.

President Trump appointee, Federal Judge Timothy Kelly says the White House must give the credential, albeit temporarily, back to Acosta. Furthermore, that the CNN’s chief White House correspondent should be given a chance to redeem himself.

Some of my colleagues might say what did you do that for? You had the microphone. You have a voice. Speak., Garrett explained. The President of the United States said, Not you. So my way of thinking [is] thats enough. The President said, I didnt call on you. I called on someone else. Alright then. Some might say you laid down and were too deferential, I dont feel that way…I deferred hoping he might call on me again, he didnt, thats how I orient myself to the institution…and I respect the institution and the countrys choice.

However, how is denying an invitation to attend a political function compare to denying a right? Moreover, by giving Acosta or any of the others in the room access, the ability to demand access are they receiving some right routinely denied to other Americans? What about journalists from publications like CommDigiNews. Do we not all have rights equal to the rights demanded by CNN and Jim Acosta?

A press conference is at the will of the President. A courtesy offered in order to provide information to the press. In 1913  Woodrow Wilson, the story goes, was the first president to invite the press into the White House. He encountered two gentlemen outside the White House, and he invited them in, out of the pouring rain in order to answer their questions.

The first press conference that was taped was by President Eisenhower in 1955. The first live T.V. press conference was in 1961 by President Kennedy.

Although he was uncomfortable talking about Acostas actions specifically, he did talk about his own personal experiences and how the interactions between the press and the president should take place and how journalists should carry themselves.

Over time the number of reporters grew, and with space limited the number of invitations became limited. Of these, some became permanent invitations or passes. Hard passes. Which means access on demand. However, none were ever deemed rights because an invitation is not a right.

Because anyone can apply to attend a press conference.  However, there is no guarantee that they will be given access.  Because it is not a right.  It is a privilege.

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The people do like to hear, publicly from their officials, elected or not, and the press had worked reasonably well as a proxy for the people. Press conferences have taken place in various areas of the White House. However, the White House, the people’s house, is also the home of the current president.  Not some reporter’s public park or playground.

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Firm direct questions are fine since the attendees have been invited, but rudeness as a guest in anyone’s home is, to many of us, still a shabby exercise.

Moreover, it matters not that any, or many, of the reporter friends, suborn boorish conduct. When Acosta, or any other invited press official acts boorish or rudely to the President, they are representing the people of America who support the President and find the onslaught of repetition (Russia, Stormy Daniels, Robert Mueller, etc.) disgraceful.

In the relatively brief history of these conferences, there has been, on occasion, the lout who attempts to play the fictional Torchy Blane, the hard-hitting reporter who asks the tough questions, and gets the big story.

The press conference has evolved since the Nixon administration with presidents of both parties structuring it for the best public relations and political advantage.

So when silly little men like Jim Acosta stand before another man as a guest in his home and acts like Rasputin, the mad monk, he has no one to blame but himself if he is asked to leave and not come back.

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As for A.B Stoddard, I don’t know if she has ever been invited to a Presidential press conference, but perhaps she could read up a bit from Emily Post’s advice on basic etiquette.

Born in Mississippi, now calling Texas home, Paul H. Yarbrough is bringing his writing talents to the political arena. Yarbrough has completed three novels. Paul H. Yarbrough is also the humorist behind the weekly column, Redneck Diary.


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