Jim Acosta Has No Constitutional Right To Report From the White House

Jim Acosta Has No Constitutional Right To Report From the White House

Jim Acosta Has No Constitutional Right To Report From the White House

If you haven’t seen the big Jim Acosta moment from the press conference last week, you’ve heard about it. CNN “reporter” Jim Acosta refused to give up the microphone during a press conference to a White House intern, and generally acted like a pompous jerk to everyone.


As a result, the White House suspended his “hard pass” credentials which allowed him to report from the White House.

Now, a First Amendment lawyer is telling CNN that they should sue the Trump Administration because they put Jim Acosta in a time-out.

Floyd Abrams, a constitutional law expert who has appeared frequently before the Supreme Court, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday that CNN has a case.

“I think it’s a really strong lawsuit,” Abrams said. “I can understand CNN being reluctant to sue because the president keeps saying CNN is the enemy of me, and CNN might have reluctance to have a lawsuit titled ‘CNN vs. Donald Trump.’ That said, yes, I think they should sue.” Abrams said.

Last Wednesday, The White House suspended the CNN chief White House correspondent hours after Acosta pressed Trump at a press conference. Acosta was forced to turn in his Secret Service “hard pass.” which speeds up entry and exit from the White House.

Abrams said Acosta’s ouster sets a dangerous precedent.

“This is going to happen again,” he said. “It’s likely to happen again. So whether it’s CNN suing or the next company suing, someone is going to have to bring a lawsuit. And whoever does is going to win unless there’s some sort of reason.”

Former ABC White House reporter Sam Donaldson, who said he’s been asked to prepare an affidavit to support CNN’s case, said Trump’s decision to revoke Acosta’s credentials “is not only wrong and unfair, it’s dangerous for the press as a whole.”

CNN said in a statement, “No decisions have been made. We have reached out to the White House and gotten no response.”

Now, I am not a lawyer, but I was a journalist once upon a time, and Jim Acosta has broken pretty much every single rule of journalism there is by making himself the story. If he can’t ask questions without being a grandstanding ass, then the White House has the prerogative to put him on a time-out until he can behave himself. Is it juvenile? Yes, but so is Jim Acosta.

Somehow, these pundits and lawyers have forgotten that Acosta is not the only person who works at CNN, and that CNN did not lose access to the White House – and in fact has other reporters in the briefing room who do NOT routinely act like toddlers on a sugar spree. They also seem to have forgotten when the president committed much more serious acts against the free press, like having James Rosen labeled a “criminal co-conspirator” in order to get access to his phone records, or when the Justice Department got the AP’s phone records, or the time that Fox News was banned from the press pool at the Treasury Department – oh wait. That was all under President Obama. I think it’s fair to say that President Trump loathes CNN just as much as President Obama loathed Fox News, and yet no Fox News journalist threw a tantrum in the manner of Jim Acosta. And even though Trump has stepped over the line with the press, he has never tried to get CNN banned from a press pool. That’s not going to stop Democrats from looking into whether President Trump likes to pick on certain news outlets as an “abuse of power” – and yes, the Democrats never once thought to investigate Obama for the same thing.

So CNN has to make a decision. Is their coverage really about the news, or is it about Jim Acosta? If it’s about the news, then they will let other calmer, more capable journalists continue to work at the White House. After all, the network still has access! But if CNN decides that their White House coverage is about letting Jim Acosta become the story, then they’ll go forward with this lawsuit and end up looking really, really, REALLY stupid in the long run. The First Amendment guarantees that the government “shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..” Nowhere in there does it say that Jim Acosta gets to report from the White House, and certainly his freedom of speech still exists because the government has not stopped him from constantly talking about himself or traveling with the press pool.

We all know where Jim Acosta’s loyalties lie – with himself.


Now we wait to see if CNN decides to start billing themselves as “The Jim Acosta Channel” or chooses to be the Cable News Network.

Featured image: Jim Acosta (image via screenshot)

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3 Comments
  • CaptDMO says:

    Can’t wait for the Netflix production of
    “The Dear Diary: Diaries”

  • ScienceABC123 says:

    Larry King: “CNN stopped doing news a long time ago.”

  • GWB says:

    a constitutional law expert who has appeared frequently before the Supreme Court
    Well, I wouldn’t call him an “expert” after that idiotic recommendation. And this puts paid to the idea that appearing before the Supreme Court frequently makes you a good or intelligent lawyer.

    after Acosta pressed Trump at a press conference
    No, he didn’t “press” Trump, he was haranguing him. He was grandstanding. He was NOT acting as a member of the press, but as a member of the political opposition. That is not what a WH press pass is for.

    unless there’s some sort of reason
    Ummm, they gave a reason. And Jim’s actions, recorded and broadcast, back up that reason. He was an a*hole.

    it’s dangerous for the press as a whole
    No, it isn’t. Unless they’re all going to start pontificating, instead of being journalists. Even then it won’t be dangerous, just annoying. (Get over it, folks, you’re not special forces rangers with a mic and a camera; you’re not firefighters.)

    Is it juvenile?
    No, what Trump/the WH did was not juvenile. It was actually a very adult response to an a*hole.
    And no, it’s also not “stepping over the line”, nor is it an “abuse of power”. I can’t think of anything Trump has done – related to the press – as qualifying for those appellations.

    “The Jim Acosta Channel”
    I think you follow that with Anchorperson Short Series. You can do the acronym yourself.

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