White House Suspends Access For CNN’s Jim Acosta

In a major escalation of President Donald Trump’s war with the media, the White House today suspended the access of CNN’s Jim Acosta from the White House “until further notice.” I have been highly critical of the President’s attacks on the media and, as many might expect, I am equally critical of this move. I felt Acosta was out of line in refusing to give up the mike at the press conference this week.  However, he did not manhandle a female aide as suggested by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and the appropriate response would be to make it clear to CNN that its reporters are not allowed to defiantly retain a mike or yell over the President in such conferences.

The on-air confrontation between the President of the United States and Jim Acosta, the CNN reporter showed both men at their worst.  The President launched into one of his tirades against CNN while Acosta refused to yield and gently pushed aside the hand of an aide trying to grab the mike.  Sanders stated “President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.”

While I felt Acosta crossed the line with his defiance and shouting, the video does not show a serious physical contact with the aide:

 

I felt sorry from the young woman trying to do her job, but she was not treated roughly.

CNN should address the conduct of its own reporter in his refusal to yield the mike and the floor. It seemed to me that Acosta, who I knew and like, was trying to argue with the President.  I have no problem with reporters shouting outside to get responses from a president but this is a formal White House press conference.  Reporters are given opportunities to ask questions but they are expected to yield the floor to waiting reporters.

None of this changes the fact that the President’s tirade was highly improper and chilling in calling Acosta the “enemy of the people.”  That hyperbolic language is damaging to the Office of the President and potentially dangerous for Acosta and other journalists.

The suspension should be lifted immediately.

390 thoughts on “White House Suspends Access For CNN’s Jim Acosta”

  1. I rarely disagree with Turley, but I do today. Reporters may dislike or personally hold low respect for Trump, but their disregard for the OFFICE of the Presidency is a wholly different thing. This enables any journalist who personally dislikes a president to entirely ignore the president and proceed with his/ her own agenda. When the President tells you “no more questions,” or tells you to stop, and you continue with such disrespect, you should be REMOVED from the room. Second, I disagree with the legal assessment. A battery requires no more than an unwanted touching or mere physical conducf (but is rarely
    prosecuted with de minimus harm). Analysis would have been different if Acosta owned the mike and the intern tried to take it away. Finally, the only mistake Trump made, as any Behavior Modification 101 class would instruct, is that he frequently says ” no. no more,” then gives in when the rude reporter continues. He did this again during this presser.

    1. that’s just hornbook law, the reality is different,. there is a lot of social touching and even slightly negative social touching such as this which would not fetch an arrest let alone a charge

      that said, again, Acosta is a jerk, rightly admonished and had his creds pulled

      1. (we are not talking about “arrest”—perhaps I should have said litigate, not prosecute. this in no way was a social touching. Rhis was an intentional pushing-away of her arm. Injury or harm is not at issue.

          1. I am not a feminist. I am merely stating that acosta’s conduct warranted redress, and my reaponse would be the same if the WH intern were a man.

            1. lin – I really do not care what you are or are not. 3rd Wave Feminists should be pounding on the doors of CNN demanding the blood of Acosta.

        1. sure, you could make a tort out of it, but nobody would because the damages are about one thin dime. lawyers like to get paid

    2. Lin – I agree. Trump needs to be calm and assertive. Bad behavior among Liberals has been enabled and excused long enough.

      The Left controls the media, so the media excused the inexcusable in Acosta and blamed Trump.

      Sorry, but if you cannot behave when visiting, you won’t be invited back.

  2. Does anyone believe that if Trump began acting civilly the press would reciprocate? Not hardly. I say stop giving news conferences.

    1. He can’t. Press conference are essential to communication and the proper function of the press in our democracy. But jerks like Acosta and fake news CNN do not discharge their proper role by constant negative propaganda

        1. republic with democratic elections then, whatever, there is a role that is a strong element of the public culture and enmeshed explicitly in the constitutinal regime via the 1st amendment. it has a place.

      1. Not a single one was given prior to 1913. Public press conferences prior to 1933 were few and the questions were written. Roosevelt gave hundreds of press conferences, but the vast majority were off-the-record with about a dozen reporters in attendance. There’s been a secular decline in their frequency. Good riddence.

  3. I was never able to find out if the reporter from The New York Daily News accepted the Iron Cross “award” from FDR.😊😂

  4. Media outlets like The Washington Post obviously want to refute what anyone with unbiased eyes can see from the original video; that is, that Acosta inappropriately struck the intern’s left arm with his right hand.
    So the WP runs a headline that says “White House shares doctored video to support punishment of journalist Jim Acosta.” The opinion piece posing as reporting cites an internet commentator Paul Watson. But the WP presents no compelling evidence that any “doctored” video was presented. In fact, Paul Watson has responded in the video below and by all reasonable indications, there was no “doctoring” whatsoever and the image was merely enlarged to make clear and obvious what such people as Professor Turley are unable (or refuse) to see.

    1. jamescfeldman – as I watch the video I think he blocked her and brushed her off. Not sure if you call that assault. However, you might say refusing to give up the mic to the poor intern is assault.

      Acosta has a list of offenses so this is just one of many. This was a perfect punishment for him. It shows the President has Sander’s back and Acosta is rude, which was clear from the full video. You get to ask two question, not twenty.

      1. Paul C Schulte, you’re correct that what Acosta did with his right hand didn’t likely rise to an assault (that is, to potentially inflict bodily harm), but what he did was much more than incidental contact. And I think Acosta did inappropriately apply deliberate force with his right hand and arm to block the intern from retrieving the microphone.

      2. Paul – I agree that he physically brushed her off, as well as turned his body to keep the mic. It wasn’t assault. However, this type of behavior would easily get a man fired in today’s society.

        It is also fair that someone who will not abide by the rules of the press corps loses access.

    2. Haha. He said “paul watson” as if anyone connected to inforwars is anything other than a wackjob kook.

      this is to “paul has an interesting take on the hidden Roswell alien, to boot” jamie

      1. npc plays its script. alex jones conspiracy very bad, fox news bad, cnn good. boring!

        ps did you know that Hillary’s campaign manager is a UFO guy? yep look it up

  5. I disagree with you, JT. Acosta makes a living in provoking and disrespecting the President. Surely you know that appeasement in cases like this never works. Maybe this will set an example and prevent other so called “journalists” from being so rude and disrespectful. If Obama was on the podium, and a conservative member of the media pulled the same stunt, the outcry against him/her would be swift and merciless!

  6. Misconduct, rudeness and disrespectfulness must always pay a price. Adolescent A’Costa–and April Ryan as well–must understand that their puerile, defiant and disrespectful actions will not be condoned by the American people or by their President. I wonder if the press and everyone else will get back to some foundational common sense and common decency. Doubtful.

  7. Try “gently” resisting a postal worker or a cop. Bottom line is he has no right to touch her. Just like when Corey Lewendoski put his hands on Michelle Fields.
    If anyone thinks that any complaint to CNN would do anything but embolden Acosta to act out even more, they are delusional.
    Even if he didn’t touch her, which he did, he clearly intimidated her. That is not acceptable I don’t care who occupies the White House.
    Sorry Professor Turley, cannot agree with you on this one.

  8. Acosta physically resisted intern’s attempt to retrieve the microphone. Inappropriate – full stop. I could not help but imagine my teenage daughter going to DC as intern and then get treated that way. Bully Acosta suspended from White House, not CNN – very important clarification.

    1. Hopefully, your daughter hasn’t been indoctrinated with your victomhood syndrome and would just shrug it off like most adults.

  9. When Acosta refused to give up the microphone, the intern very properly reached to take it from him. Acosta won that brief confrontation, because he was stronger than his adversary. If the intern had been an athletic male, Acosta would probably have lost; in fact, he probably wouldn’t have even tried.

    The whole point of social norms is to even the playing field between the strong and the weak. I don’t want to be accusatory, but if you were a small woman faced with a large man, would you still say that the man using his superior strength to keep you from doing your job doesn’t count as “serious physical contact”?

  10. From my perspective, Acosta’s behavior was situationally and interactionally inappropriate. To be clear, his actions re the intern were not malicious and hardly constitute an attack or anything of the sort–this should not be blown up into something it’s not.

    That being said, for Acosta to actively resist an intern just trying to do her job by withholding the mic violates decorum and is disrespectful to all concerned. Imagine if every reporter in the room behaved as Acosta did–it would be absolute mayhem. I don’t believe this incident, in and of itself, warrants taking his press credentials but it’s fair to note that this is hardly Acosta’s debut at this sort of thing.

    Regarding the enemy of the people banter (I’m no fan), it’s only fair to point out that his statement was conditional: “…when you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.” This is very different than saying that the press are the enemy of the people.

    The following points are worth making with respect to the press:

    1) A thirsty press is vital to any democracy. A bloodthirsty one is not.

    2) A democracy is diminished when the press ceases to be fair and balanced in its reporting.

    1. Acosta was just trying to do his job on behalf of the American people by asking about misuse of military resources for political purposes. His job is protected by the Constitution. She was trying to silence a member of the media who refused to be bullied. In the process, she assaulted him.

      Please, please: list for me the fake news CNN has reported.

      1. I respectfully disagree. Acosta asked a question and received an answer. In no way, shape or form was he impeded in that process. The fireworks started when Acosta refused to turn over the mic. I think you’ll agree that nowhere does it stipulate in the Constitution that CNN and/or Acosta are entitled to ask questions at their pleasure to the exclusion of all others.

        As far as assault, I’m not sure that we’re watching the same incident. There’s zero evidence of assault or bullying by Acosta, the intern or anybody else.

        Re fake news, I think you’re missing my point.

  11. Frankly, I’m surprised Mr. Acosta wasn’t sacked long ago given his disruptive behavior over the months. Whether the touching of the intern was out of line or not I’m not going to debate this. But what it did provide was something concrete for the president/press office to ground a suspension.

    I sense this was inevitable.

    1. Once venerable standards of decency and conduct are eroding before our eyes. And it’s shamelessly condoned, top to bottom. Degenerative. So goes the country. Glad prepubescent A’Costa was nailed. Well overdue. An annoying me-first brat of the first order.

  12. All this dissension over “free stuff” is moot.

    Congress cannot tax for indivdual welfare or “free stuff.”

    Congress shall have only the power to tax for “…general Welfare…” omitting and, thereby, excluding the power to tax for individual welfare.

    The entire American redistributionist welfare state is unconstitutional.

    Can anyone on the vaunted Supreme Court read English?

    Article 1, Section 8

    “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;…”

  13. “More B.S. by Allan.”

    Anonymous, when you make a statement like that you should be able to offer a bit of proof. Without proof you shouldn’t get so personal.

    1. that girl is pretty cute

      she gets a star for the day

      acosta looks like he’s pulling some wing chun there, right hand parry, left hand simultaneous attack with centerline eye gouge. lol

  14. CNN is not in the “news” business. It is in the business of selling viewer eyeballs to advertisers. Zucker’s performance is measured in large part on CNN’s ratings.

    On average, it sells about 1 million pair of eyeballs per show to advertisers. I suspect most of the eyeballs CNN sells belong to people who have been conditioned to hate Trump.

    Acosta is a performance artist. His job is to give the viewers what they want so they keep tuning in. The more attention he can create for himself being hostile to the president, the more the people who own the eyeballs CNN sells to advertisers like it. More viewers equal higher ad rates it can charge for your eyeballs.

    And that means Zucker and Acosta will likely have a larger performance bonus at year end.

  15. You conclude with “The suspension should be lifted immediately,” and on that we agree. Then, immediately after the suspension is lifted, the WH should permanently revoke Acosta’s credentials. Keep in mind, you readily acknowledge Acosta was out of line–a line he frequently crosses–and his employer seems willing to accept his inappropriate behavior. Regardless of CNN’s failure to act, the WH has the ability to stop him, and they have. Just consider how you’d respond if Acosta regularly disrupted speeches and panels where you were a participant. He’d be ejected by round three and permanently barred from future access. The fact that the venue is part of our government changes nothing. Acosta, not the press, or even CNN, would be barred, so any freedom of the press argument would fail on its face. All that said, I think there’s a better way to fix the problem–and disrespectful media representatives are definitely a problem. Effective immediately, the WH should suspend all press conferences and replace them with press releases. The media would then be able to submit their questions in writing, and the WH could respond in kind. After a reasonable period, the WH could restart press conferences and continue them as long as the media representatives exhibited proper decorum. Note that decorum has nothing to do with the content of questions. If any of them got “out of line,” the conference would immediately stop and press releases start–with a minimum doubling of time spent in that state. It wouldn’t be long before the media accepted their responsibility to control themselves. It’s a simple model of behavior modification.

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