The three-year feud between CNN and Donald Trump reached a new level on Tuesday. CNN sued Trump, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and several other White House officials for suspending the press credential of the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, just 24 hours earlier.
Read the complaint here. CNN contends that Trump violated Acosta’s First Amendment rights by suspending his press credential solely because of his “dislike for Plaintiffs’ coverage of the administration and critique of the President.” It also contends that the White House violated the Fifth Amendment by yanking Acosta’s White House access without warning. Acosta came to the White House to prepare for a standup on Monday’s edition of “Anderson Cooper 360”–only to have a Secret Service agent demand that he surrender his hard pass. CNN wants a federal judge to order the credential restored.
While this couldn’t have come as a surprise to the White House, what happened on Wednesday no doubt came as a surprise. Fox News, the preferred news network for both Trump and the GOP, announced that it was filing an amicus brief in support of CNN’s suit. Fox News president Jay Wallace issued a burning statement that made clear that his network stood behind its bitter rival.
Later in the day, Fox News joined several other major media outlets–including Bloomberg, Politico, The New York Times, NBC News, and USA Today–in issuing a joint statement supporting CNN and Acosta. They rightly contended that it was the only possible response in order to “support the fundamental constitutional right to question this president, or any president.” All of the signatories announced they will file briefs supporting the suit as well. CBS News also announced its support for the suit in a separate statement, as well as its intention to file a brief.
In other words, virtually the entire American news media community stands united in its support of CNN’s effort to get Acosta’s credential restored. But it’s very telling that Fox News joined this chorus. A number of its personalities have loudly criticized Acosta for his aggressive coverage of Trump, and some of them actually cheered the White House’s decision to drop the hammer on him.
No doubt that Wallace knew that Fox News viewers would howl in outrage the minute his statement went live. After all, whenever top anchorman Shepard Smith dares to call out alternative facting from Trump or any other Republican, the covfefe drinkers call for his head on Twitter. Sure enough, the covfefe drinkers threw up their hands and clutched their pearls at this outbreak of integrity from their favorite network.
This is actually the second time in 24 hours that deplorable Twitter’s collective head exploded in response to Fox daring to express any kind of support for Acosta and CNN. Just hours after the suit was filed, Judge Andrew Napolitano dropped by Fox Business and told Stuart Varney that he doesn’t think the White House has a leg to stand on. Watch here.
Napolitano told a surprised Varney that he believes CNN has “a very good case”–one that he expects will be “resolved very quickly.” Oh, how the wingnuts howled.
Apparently those howling in outrage over the last two days don’t realize that literally the only piece of evidence the White House has is a video that purportedly shows Acosta chopping away the hand of a White House intern who tried to take the mic from him during a heated exchange with Trump. But all available evidence suggests that video was doctored. In truth, Acosta merely put his hand between the intern’s hand and the mic.
Even the White House seems to be backing away from this line. In a statement, Sanders claimed that Acosta was banned not for putting his hands on the intern, but for not giving up the mic. Perhaps someone must have told the White House that eventually, CNN would be able to prove the video making it look like Acosta chopped the intern’s hand away had indeed been doctored.
In so doing, Trump effectively threw away any remotely defensible reason for yanking Acosta’s credentials. But judging by the angry response to Fox News’ decision to stand with Acosta, apparently his true believers didn’t get the memo.
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