13 News Orgs, Including Fox, Back CNN in Fight Against White House

CNN is waging a legal battle against the White House over the revocation of journalist Jim Acosta’s “hard pass”.

3 min read
President Donald Trump speaks to CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference.

Thirteen news organisations, including Fox News, joined CNN in its battle against the White House over the revocation of journalist Jim Acosta’s “hard pass”.

These organisations – which include the Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media Works, Gannett, the National Press Club Journalism Institute, NBC News, The New York Times, Politico, Press Freedom Defense Fund, EW Scripps Company, USA Today and The Washington Post, are planning to file an amicus brief in the case, reported AP.

In a statement on behalf of the news organisations, the law firm Ballard Spahr said:

“Whether the news of the day concerns national security, the economy, or the environment, reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions. It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the president and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons.”
Statement on behalf of news organisations

Fox News President Jay Wallace said Secret Service passes for working White House journalists "should never be weaponised."

“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential.”
Jay Wallace, in a statement

Wallace said while Fox News doesn't condone the "growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails," it supports "access and open exchanges for the American people."

Notably, as reported by AFP, Fox is controlled by Trump ally Rupert Murdoch and often draws praise from the president.

White House Says it Has 'Broad Discretion' on Press Access

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has contended that it has “broad discretion” to regulate press access to the White House.

In a legal filing ahead of a Wednesday hearing on CNN's request for a temporary restraining order to restore Acosta's access, the government argued it "was lawful" to punish Acosta for his behavior during a contentious Trump press conference last week.

It rejected the idea that Acosta was "otherwise eligible" for White House access, saying:

"The President and his designees in the White House Press Office have exercised their discretion not to engage with him and, by extension, to no longer grant him on-demand access to the White House complex so that he can attempt to interact with the President or White House officials."

The White House's explanations for why it seized Acosta's "hard pass," which grants reporters as-needed access to the 18-acre complex, have shifted over the last week. Acosta has repeatedly clashed with Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in briefings over the last two years, AP further reported.


What is the Controversy?

Acosta, who is the chief White House correspondent, was denied entry into the the White House on Wednesday, 7 November, and press secretary Sarah Sanders backed the decision by stating Acosta’s behaviour at a presidential news conference was inappropriate.

This followed after Acosta asked Trump about the caravan of migrants heading from Latin America to the southern US border during a news conference.

Trump had replied with “That’s enough!” when Acosta tried to follow up with another question. During this, a female White House aide unsuccessfully tried to grab the microphone from Acosta, which Sanders termed ‘inappropriate behaviour’ on part of Acosta.

Sanders later released a statement calling Acosta’s behaviour “unacceptable”. She accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”

Acosta’s interaction with the intern was brief, and in the video, Acosta appeared to brush her arm as she reached for the microphone and he tried to hold on to it. He told her "Pardon me, ma'am,".

Acosta later tweeted that Sanders' statement was “a lie”. He also posted a video on Twitter of him handing over his White House press pass to a Secret Service guard.

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