CNN's Jim Acosta Case: You Know WHO ELSE Picked His Own Press Pool?
The judge in CNN's lawsuit to get Jim Acosta's press pass un-revoked is set to announce his decision on whether to grant an injunction restoring Acosta's press credentials. CNN's attorneys argued that by revoking Acosta's "hard pass" to the White House last week, the administration had violated his free speech rights because it just plain didn't like how the network covers the "president." The Justice Department claimed presidents have the authority to choose which reporters cover them inside the executive mansion, and besides, even if Acosta is barred from the White House, he can still do his so-called "reporting" by, say, watching presidential speeches on CSPAN in a van, down by the river.
DC Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, had a lotta questions about CNN's contention that, under the 1977 Sherrill v Knight ruling, the White House can only withhold a reporter's press pass if there's reason to believe the reporter is a security threat to the president, other journalists, or people in the White House. CNN contends that Trump simply wanted to kick out Acosta because, as he says every chance he gets, he hates CNN in general and Acosta in particular, which would be illegal "viewpoint discrimination" on the part of the government.
CNN lawyer Theodore Boutrous pointed to Trump's repeated claims that CNN and Acosta are "fake news" and "the enemy of the people," but Kelly seemed inclined to at least consider the government's contention that Acosta was banned from the White House for being rude, asking questions out of turn, not surrendering the microphone when asked, and smelling like fish from an office microwave. "We've all seen the clip" of the news conference, said Kelly, referring to the footage of Acosta savagely nudging an intern's arm as she gently tried to take his mic away, then stabbing her repeatedly with a pen.
Boutrous replied with the "president's" own words at the presser, where he called Acosta rude and said CNN shouldn't have him working for it, and said that in this case, "'Rudeness' is really a code word for 'I don't like you being an aggressive reporter.'" And more!
Boutrous called the White House's move to revoke Acosta's hard pass "the definition of arbitrariness and capriciousness.""
What are the standards?" Boutrous asked. "Rudeness is not a standard. If it were no one could have gone to the press conference."
Like, especially not Donald Trump. Have you seen that guy?
As for Sarah Huckabee Sanders's initial insistence, doctored video and all, that Acosta was banned because he'd placed his hands on the intern, that had actually vanished from the government's brief for the case. Kelly asked both sides about it anyway, and Boutrous said CNN considered it "absolutely false."
Kelly asked DOJ attorney James Burnham to "set me straight" on "this issue of whether the government's reason has changed over time," and Burnham, truly a specimen of Trump jurisprudence, insisted the executive does not explain, the executive acts, and does not have to explain its ways to mortals.
"There doesn't need to be a reason because there's no First Amendment protection and the President has broad discretion," Burnham said.
Burnham did say, however -- we'll assume while sighing disdainfully -- that the administration had been "pretty consistent throughout" the last week in saying Acosta was simply too rude to be allowed in the same room with President Pussgrab McPuncheminnaface. He also clarified that Sanders's twice-tweeted insistence that this was all about Acosta laying hands on the intern in a non-faith-healing manner was no longer operative. "We're not relying on that here and I don't think the White House is relying on that here," he said, and the entire internet raised one eyebrow.
Then, under questioning from Kelly, Burnham went another step, and said even if the White House did ban reporters because it doesn't like them or their organization's reporting, well that's just fine under the First Amendment, too:
The judge asked if the White House could essentially tell any individual journalist, "we don't like your reporting, so we're pulling your hard pass." Burnham replied, "as a matter of law... yes."
Burnham again insisted -- not that he needs to give any reason at all, mind you, because the THIS executive does what he wants -- that there's no First Amendment claim at all, because Acosta had behaved badly:
"A single journalist's attempt to monopolize a press conference is not a viewpoint and revoking a hard pass in response to that is not viewpoint discrimination," Burnham said.
Got it? This absolutely is not viewpoint discrimination, but if it were, that would be legal, too.
Burnham went on to argue, as the white House has all along, that neither CNN nor Acosta were harmed by his ejection, and he can still do First Amendment stuff because any time he wants, he can
still call White House staffers for interviews or "catch them on their way out" of the building [...]
Burnham said CNN had made an "odd First Amendment injury" claim and suggested that Acosta could do his job "just as effectively" watching the President's appearances piped into a studio on CNN.
Hell, he could just copy-paste shit he reads online and make fart jokes about it like a common mommyblogger. He's got all the free speech in the world, fuck him and his expectation of access. No reporter has the right to be called on at a presser, and if Trump never acknowledges Acosta again, nobody could sue over that.
Boutrous said that's not how journamalism (or First Amendment cases involving the press) works, not at all, Jesus Fucking Christ, guys:
"That's not how reporters break stories. It's simply a fundamental misconception of journalism," Boutrous said, adding how unscheduled gaggles and source meetings throughout the White House amounted to "invaluable access."
Not surprisingly, virtually all the big media organizations have filed amicus briefs, including Fox News, at least the Shep Smith part of the company.
Fox News President Jay Wallace stated: "Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized."
As we noted earlier, Fox analyst Andrew Napolitano says CNN has "a very good case" for winning Acosta's hard pass back, which no doubt has made HIS email interesting this week.
This is actually some pretty serious shit; while every modern president has had grumpy arguments with the press, none has ever asserted that it should be able to pick and choose which reporters, and maybe even which networks, will be allowed to cover the White House. With Trump already rumbling that counting all the votes is "stealing" an election, the notion that the White House, not news organizations, will decide who's in the White House press corps is just a tad scary with 2020 coming up, huh?
CNN is asking Judge Kelly to rule on the constitutionality of the Trump administration's actions, which means his decision could set precedent for the administration's future actions -- which Trump has already threatened -- against the press and individual reporters.
Also, this is where we had closed with a joke about the Gateway Pundit "filing an amicus brief in support of the government and offering to help the administration lie," but then, this being Crapsack World, we learned the CEO of the rightwing One America News Network is actually planning to file a brief in support of keeping Jim Acosta out of the press room. You see, Acosta's a very bad man and eats into time that other, more worshipful outlets could use to ask questions like "Sarah, how will the president's border wall make us all safer and happier?" Robert Herring, the head honcho of We're More Subservient Than Fox, tweeted,
(1) WE are going to file in the CNN vs White House court an Amicus Brief in favor of the White House. Acosta's actions are stopping our people from getting their questions answered, so that we can give our audience the real news direct from our President. @OANN #CNNvsWhiteHouse
(2) Can't believe Fox is on the other side, but they have direct communication to the President. We are lucky if we get a five minute interview once a quarter.
Thanks a hell of a lot for stealing our joke, dickweed. Now Gateway Pundit's going to have to demand reporters be chosen after a rigorous process of single combat using glaives.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.