Jim Acosta isn’t the first and surely won’t be the last reporter President Trump insults as a “rude, terrible person,” at a press conference, but this time the President’s disdain for the media reached a new low. After a heated exchange, the White House pulled Acosta’s press pass, claiming that he “put hands” on the intern trying to take his microphone. Acosta did not put his hands on the intern, he simply refused to give up his audio.
Can you blame him? President Trump started interrupting Acosta before he could finish his first query. Any question he asked, the President evaded, belittled or flat out refused to give a straight answer. When the President began hurling insults like, “Go back to running CNN. If you did it well your ratings would be much better,” Acosta simply continued asking questions with no personal reaction. In fact, the first time the intern grabbed the microphone he politely responded, “Pardon me ma’am.”
The reporter who was called on after Acosta was dismissed took a moment before asking his question to defend Acosta’s integrity as a journalist. This incurred the displeasure of the President who retorted, “Well I’m not a big fan of yours either.”
There’s plenty of video footage of these events… and that’s also the problem. I’m beginning to suspect that the creative team behind the President’s movie trailer-esque video, presented at Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, or the recent Game of Thrones inspired graphic for a Trump tweet threatening “Sanctions Are Coming” in reference to Iran, might also be responsible for altering images and video to align with Trump administration narratives. I’d like to be incredibly clear that this is my own opinion, but it’s interesting how “alternative” views of the President’s inauguration show a full crowd, or in this case, a more aggressive Acosta. If I’m right, this is another troubling sign for our First Amendment freedom of the press. Material produced with the explicit purpose of deceiving the American people undermines our right to information.
President Trump routinely berates and outright insults reporters. Instead of answering their questions respectfully at professional press conferences, he tells them what he doesn’t like about them personally. When it’s time for him to answer a question, he says he disagrees and has alternative facts, but can never clarify what they are, or the sources of these facts.
The press has a hard enough time getting a straight answer from the President inside the White House Press Room, but as he threatens to revoke more press passes, Americans have just cause for alarm. We cannot let the President make a mockery of our First Amendment rights to information. We cannot allow him to answer questions only in a room full of Fox & Friends hosts or in front of a crowd of his fans. The President must be accountable to all of the people he was elected to serve, not just the people he likes.