Fox News Gulps the Stupid
Fox News Gulps the Stupid
As we reported previously, CNN is suing the White House after their White House chief correspondent Jim Acosta made himself the news story by acting like a petulant toddler, refusing to give up the microphone, and arguing his own political viewpoints with the President during a press conference. A bunch of news outlets are filing amici curiae briefs in support of CNN’s lawsuit, but none are more surprising than Fox News.
Yeah, THAT Fox News. The Fox News whose Sean Hannity has been gargling Trump’s balls so hard, one has to wonder if his throat is sore. CNN is shocked at the support as well.
The most notable name on the list is Fox News. In fact, Fox went further than most other media companies on Wednesday, issuing a statement that said “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.”
The statement came from Jay Wallace, the president of Fox News, hours after Fox commentators like Sean Hannity publicly criticized Acosta and CNN.
The two networks have been rivals for two decades — but Wallace said this case is about the free press.
OK, let’s get something straight. There is NOTHING in the First Amendment that guarantees a journalist’s or network’s access to the White House. CNN is not being prevented from reporting about the administration, and it’s not being prosecuted for what it reports. Jim Acosta – if they want to keep that bag of douche as their Chief White House Correspondent – can still report the news any way he sees fit. What he can’t do is haul his entitled ass onto the White House grounds and exhibit a froth-flecked lack of decorum as he causes drama during pressers.
The right to publish and broadcast news is a First Amendment issue. The ability to be present on the White House grounds is not.
This case is in no way about the free press.
It’s about a reporter who thinks so highly of himself, that he wants to insert himself into every story and make himself the news. This case is about Acosta’s ego – not about the First Amendment.
It’s one thing to ask tough questions. One absolutely should challenge the policy makers by asking serious questions. It’s quite another to hold a high school debate with the President about the definition of a fucking “caravan,” and certainly quite something else to then refuse to give up the mike and allow other members of the press to ask questions because somehow one feels entitled to hold a debate with the President of the United States during the limited time of a press conference.
Fox News seems to forget the difference between the freedom to ask questions and acting like a boor in the White House. The former is a right. The former is a duty of the Fourth Estate – an honorable obligation to stand up for and report the truth. The latter can and should get your ass booted out.
“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,” the thirteen outlets said in a statement. “Our news organizations support the fundamental constitutional right to question this President, or any President. We will be filing friend-of-the-court briefs to support CNN’s and Jim Acosta’s lawsuit based on these principles.”
The reasons for tossing Acosta out on his ass were not arbitrary. He acted like a puerile, self-absorbed oaf. If he can’t exercise some damn decorum in the White House, he should not be there. Period.
As someone wrote recently, “It is incumbent upon both the press and the spokesperson to conduct themselves with proper decorum.” A journalist can have a contentious relationship with the President – hell, the majority of the White House press corps seems to have incurred Trump’s wrath in one way or another and press feuds with the White House are nothing new – But there’s a difference between being an aggressive journalist and being a belligerent asshole.
Acosta’s right to be a belligerent asshole wasn’t violated – he was simply prevented from being one in the White House. And famed attorney Alan Dershowitz agrees CNN will have a hard time proving this case.
It’s not like he was censored in any way. Remember censorship during Woodrow Wilson’s administration? Not. Like. That.
Within a week of Congress declaring war, on April 13, 1917, Wilson issued an executive order creating a new federal agency that would put the government in the business of actively shaping press coverage.
That agency was the Committee on Public Information, which would take on the task of explaining to millions of young men being drafted into military service – and to the millions of other Americans who had so recently supported neutrality – why they should now support war.
The new agency – which journalist Stephen Ponder called “the nation’s first ministry of information” – was usually referred to as the Creel Committee for its chairman, George Creel, who had been a journalist before the war. From the start, the CPI was “a veritable magnet” for political progressives of all stripes – intellectuals, muckrakers, even some socialists – all sharing a sense of the threat to democracy posed by German militarism.
And by the way, the left’s intrepid hero Abraham Lincoln wasn’t so hot on the whole press freedom either.
Point is, CNN can still send another reporter to cover that beat. CNN wasn’t denied access to the White House; they’re always welcome to send someone who is not Acosta to cover the Administration.
So why is Fox News all of a sudden gulping the media Kool-Aid? Is it because in 2009 other media outlets stood up for a member of Fox News after the Obama Administration started a similar war with the news organization? Jake Tapper at the time was blunt in his defense.
Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one?
Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.
Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –
Gibbs: ABC –
Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?
Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.
Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” — why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That’s our opinion.
Is it because Fox News is concerned that next time one of their reporters gets obnoxious with a Democrat administration, they will be tossed out on their ass?
Perhaps, reporters from all news organizations should report the news rather than make themselves the center of it. Then, perhaps it won’t be necessary to twist the First Amendment to protect the ornery louts in their midst/
Acosta was a dick, and actions have consequences.