Trump announces solution to Acosta problem and now the media are stuck
President Trump famously proclaims his ability to win, and already has figured out how to turn the loss dealt him by a federal judge that he appointed into a win.
In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., sided with CNN on Friday in its lawsuit against President Trump, ordering the White House to immediately reinstate correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, said the White House failed to provide Acosta due process in revoking his access, and he granted a temporary restraining order restoring it. Kelly noted that it was a “very limited” ruling, based on due-process considerations.
The judge said that Trump does not have to call on Acosta ever again but that the CNN chief White House correspondent is owed due process before the administration can revoke his “hard,” or permanent, press pass.
President Trump told White House reporters yesterday and repeated in an interview with Fox News that the judge’s demand of due process is easily satisfied by drawing up clear rules of decorum for press conferences:
Now President Trump is vowing to create "rules and regulations" for how White House reporters act. He says "you have to practice decorum" at the White House.
"It's not a big deal," Trump told Fox News in an interview on Friday. "What they said, though, is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, etcetera. We're going to write them up. It's not a big deal. If he misbehaves, we'll throw him out or we'll stop the news conference."
Acosta, of course, held an impromptu press conference of his own to gloat:
.@CNN's Jim @Acosta returns to the White House after his press pass was temporarily reinstated after a federal judge ordered it's return by the White House. pic.twitter.com/zk8ICIw98w— CSPAN (@cspan) November 16, 2018
But his bosses at CNN seem to understand that the gloating may be short-lived, citing the presidential promise of rules in the second sentence of its story on the judge’s ruling.
The New York Times gets it that Trump now has the upper hand in his battle with a media that wants to drive him from office:
“This could backfire,” said William L. Youmans, a professor of media law at George Washington University. Mr. Acosta “gets his credential now, but it empowers the Trump administration to come up with conduct-based criteria.”
“A ‘rudeness’ or ‘aggressive behavior’ policy would have a huge chilling effect, and would be much more damaging to the whole system,” Dr. Youmans added. “If it lowers the bar for pulling credentials, it’s a recipe for a more tepid press.”
And now, the hard truth about Acosta – Trump’s most prominent enemy in the media he describes as “fake news” – will start to come out: his colleagues in the White House press corps mostly hate him. Ryan Saavedra of The Daily Wire has collected the private thoughts of a number of them:
Multiple reporters have privately complained about CNN's Jim Acosta in recent days as the reporter continues to wait on a federal judge's ruling as to whether he can at least temporarily restore the White House correspondent's press credentials.
"A few CNN reporters told me that they’re embarrassed by Acosta & CNN," Republican strategist Arthur Schwartz said. "A WH correspondent from a major network (not Fox) told me 'This isn’t the Jim F*ing Acosta Show. We all hate him. He's an a**hole and he actually is disrespectful to the president.'"
There’s a lot more, so read the whole thing.
Major Garrett of CBS News did not hide his feelings with off-the-record comments, in an appearance with talk show host Larry O’Connor:
O’CONNOR: “I’d love to take this conversation out of the lawsuit question and I certainly don’t 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 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 that each — all of you would agree upon?”
GARRETT: “There is. No question about it. It’s 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. 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.’ Kaitlan with CNN, Kaitlan Collins.”
O’CONNOR: “CNN, by the way, yes.”
GARRETT: “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, that’s enough. The President said ‘I didn’t call on you, I called on somebody else.’ Alright, then. And I didn’t get a question at the press conference. Some might say, well, you laid down, are you were too differential. I don’t feel that way. I stood up, the President of the United States said ‘No, I don’t mean you, I mean somebody else. Another one of your colleagues.’ So, I deferred, hoping he might call me again he didn’t that’s how I ordered myself to the institution and the person who occupies our institution is chosen by the country. He didn’t. That’s how I orient myself to the institution, and the person who occupies that institution is chosen by the country. And I respect the institution and the country’s choice. And I’m there to, on behalf of everyone, ask questions, and most importantly, Larry, get answers.”
O’CONNOR: “Yea. And Major Garrett — “
GARRETT: “That’s the whole part of this transaction. If you’re not getting answers, then I think there’s part of the job that’s not reaching its fullest capability on striving to accomplish the main goal, which is to get answers.”
As so often, Clarice Feldman has a good suggestion to handle the problem with as little fuss (and government intervention) as possible:
Quit televising the pressers or give him the microphone and don't give it to any other reporter and he'll end up beaten in a ditch on the outskirts of town.