Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Jim Acosta's lawsuit against Trump -- it may be questionable, but it begs more questions about press credentials

Jim Acosta and CNN are suing President Trump and apparently the White House (not sure of the exact legal entity) to get his press pass back after it was revoked around Nov 7 (the day after the election) when Acosta persisted in interrupting Trump in the East Room briefing and (perhaps accidentally) touched the arm of a female White House intern. Here is CNN's own account, written by Brian Stelter. 
Tim Pool interviews a lawyer, who, while a Trump supporter, gives a reasonable assessment of the suit. Trump cannot deny him access because of the content of his questions (as long as otherwise lawful). The White House had apparently not set up any procedures for removal of press passes, so a court might require Trump to set up such processes and provide an appeal process.  But Acosta’s conduct might well get him banned anyway.
Pool feels that Acosta has been rude in meetings before and acts like he is auditioning for his own commentary show.  (One of my own DADT screenplay drafts starts with a hidden “audition” so the concept is interesting.)
The incident is important for another reason.  Press credentials are important to be admitted to some events. I don’t have them and have not really needed them.  But having them establishes your formal legitimacy as a journalist (or “notability” as Wikipedia calls it).  These days of polarized ideas about free speech and perhaps disapproval of gratuitous speech (the “skin in the game” idea) credentials could become more important.

Update: Nov. 16

A federal judge, a Trump appointee, has ordered the White House to restore Acosta's press.  But the WH could set up a procedure to take the pass away (ex post facto). 

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