White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fired back at CNN today after the anti-Trump network filed a lawsuit to reinstate the press pass of reporter Jim Acosta.
The White House took away Acosta’s pass after he argued with the president and refused to give up a microphone when an intern tried to take it away.
CNN’s lawsuit argues that the ban on Acosta violates the First and Fifth Amendment rights of the network and its anti-Trump agitator, but Sanders’ terse statement again explained what happened, and why the disputatious TV reporter landed in hot water: He “inappropriately refused to yield.”
Acosta Booted, CNN Sues
Acosta’s exile began after a typical argument with the president.
Acosta had flatly told the president he was wrong to call the migrant caravan streaming through Mexico an “invasion” force, and then criticized the president for the midterm campaign ad that featured an illegal-alien murderer bragging about his crimes. The ad also featured images of the migrant caravan’s unruly, illegal, relentless march toward the United States.
When an intern tried to relieve Acosta of the microphone, he resisted. The White House lifted his press pass because of his discourtesy and refusal to back down. The media took Acosta’s side, and this morning, CNN filed suit.
Naming Trump, Sanders, and others as defendants, the lawsuit says the revocation of the press privileges trespasses CNN’s and Acosta’s First Amendment rights because his work and coverage of the press conference were constitutionally “protected activities.” And because he cannot work at the White House without the credentials and therefore exercise CNN’s and his “protected liberty and property interests,” the ban violated his Fifth Amendment rights to due process.
The lawsuit avers that Acosta’s ridiculous behavior is not a legally acceptable reason to suspend his pass.
Acosta’s backers aver that the White House banned him because of his “views,” apparently not stopping to think that viewers aren’t supposed to know his views because he is not, as a neutral reporter, supposed to express them or even make them known.
But that, Sanders replied, is not why the White House banned Acosta.
White House Reply
Sanders answered CNN’s salvo with a truth bomb. The statement reiterated a few facts the Fake News Media, particularly CNN, likely won’t emphasize.
Calling the legal maneuver “more grandstanding from CNN,” Sanders observed that CNN “has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders,” a reference to the credential that allows daily access. But the Trump-hating newsman “is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment,” she said:
After Mr. Acosta asked the President two questions — each of which the President answered — he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions. This was not the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters.
The White House cannot run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional. The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolize the floor. If there is no check on this type of behavior it impedes the ability of the President, the White House staff, and members of the media to conduct business.
That answer, of course, won’t sit well with the worthies of the Fourth Estate, which functions more like a Fifth Column for the radical Left.
Trump repeatedly told Acosta his time was up. Acosta refused to yield. When the intern tried to take the microphone, Acosta resisted.
Acosta accused Sanders of lying when she tweeted that he put his hands on the intern. But whether he touched the intern — Acosta lied in claiming he didn’t, the video shows — isn’t Sanders’ main point. Even Trump said, as CNN noted in its lawsuit, that what Acosta did was not “overly ... horrible.”
The president told Acosta he wanted to move on. Acosta, apparently unaware that he doesn’t run the press conferences, refused to do so. He resisted the intern and tried to keep the microphone. That he appeared to knock away her hand merely added to the main offense: refusing the directive to sit down and shut up.
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