On Friday, Donald Trump’s attempt to act on his desire to put freedom of the press in the shredder got smacked down–and smacked down hard. Federal judge Timothy Kelly found that the White House violated the Fifth Amendment rights of CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta when it yanked his press credential with virtually no warning. More importantly, Kelly concluded that Acosta and CNN were likely to win their suit against the Trump administration for yanking Acosta’s credentials.
Apparently the White House wasn’t paying attention. The ink had barely dried on Kelly’s temporary injunction when the White House warned Acosta that it was pulling his credentials again as soon as it expired. Never mind that virtually every major news organization had lined up behind CNN–even Fox News. No one wants to live in a world where a president can even appear to be throwing out reporters who–horrors!–try to hold him to account. And never mind that Kelly had warned the White House it faced an uphill battle in this suit.
Apparently someone must have told Trump that he was fighting a losing battle, because on Monday afternoon the White House announced it was fully restoring Acosta’s access. Predictably, the covfefe drinkers howled. They would have just as soon seen Acosta’s press credential put in the shredder for all to see.
One Trump diehard who was not pleased at the White House’s reversal was Lou Dobbs. That much was clear from Monday night’s edition of “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” Dobbs set the tone early on. While chatting with Fox News anchor and legal analyst Gregg Jarrett and California Republican National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, Dobbs wondered why Trump even obeyed.
Isn’t there a time where you have to tell a district court judge to go to hell?
He later said that there was something very wrong if you have to tell a federal judge to “get back in your balliwick.”
No, this isn’t snark. Watch for yourself. Dobbs asked that question at around the mark. While Dhillon seemed uncomfortable at that prospect, Jarrett was of the same mind as Dobbs. He claimed that reporting at the White House is a “privilege,” and reporters do not have a right to ask questions at press conferences.
For that reason, Jarrett thought it would have been absolutely bully if Trump had effectively given the finger to Kelly.
I would tell the judge, ‘Go to hell, we’re going to practice the way we want. Let the Supreme Court decide it.’
Jarrett was parroting Justice Department arguments that the president has a right to throw reporters out of press conferences for any reason–an argument that would have effectively put part of the First Amendment in the shredder if it had been allowed to stand.
Later, Dobbs brought on Diamond and Silk, two of the loudest and most obnoxious members of a very exclusive club–blacks who love Trump. The discussion turned to the White House’s new press conference rules, which effectively limit reporters to one question and a follow-up. Diamond and Silk thought Acosta should take this as a warning to behave himself. Watch here.
Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway wagged her finger at Acosta and suggested that Acosta needed to “respect the White House and respect the president” if anyone wanted to respect him–and if he didn’t, he’d get thrown out again. Her sister, Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, nodded in agreement, saying, “If you act like a child, you will be treated like a child.”
So let’s see if we’ve got this right. Asking tough questions is a sign that you don’t “respect the White House and respect the president,” and are therefore “act(ing) like a child”? And apparently Diamond and Silk forget that respect is something that is earned, not demanded.
And of course, they are all forgetting the 500-pound gorilla in the room. The sole basis for this ban was a video that was doctored to make it appear Acosta chopped away the hand of an intern who tried to take the mic from him. Even the White House backed away from that claim after multiple observers concluded the video had been manipulated, and Kelly himself said any suggestion that Acosta touched the intern in an inappropriate manner was “likely untrue.”
But then again, Dobbs, like his audience, believes that even mildly critical coverage of Trump is “fake news.” So it comes as no surprise that he would have had no problem if Acosta’s press credential–and with it, the First Amendment–had been effectively thrown in the shredder. Fortunately, Trump lost that battle.
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