Real Clear Politics associate editor A.B. Stoddard, appearing on Fox News Thursday night, criticized the White House for pulling the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, reports Mediaite.
Stoddard told Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, “You can disagree with the way he conducts himself and his behavior, but the idea that the White House put out a doctored video as a reason for Jim Acosta to have his pass revoked… in my view, this is really Kremlin-esq.”
She added, “Watch the video. With the audio, he’s saying ‘Excuse me, ma’am.’ He’s not manhandling this person. It is a trumped up, made-up reason to revoke his pass and it’s absolutely wrong and it’s outrageous. The idea that the White House, the officials of the president of the United States of America would use any doctoring of any video to do something to take away someone’s First Amendment rights is beyond outrageous.”
For its part CNN said in an article on its website on Thursday, “Could Acosta or CNN sue? Some experts say yes. ‘Acosta and CNN have legal grounds to challenge the White House’s decision,’ Jonathan Peters, a media law professor at the University of Georgia, told CNN. ‘Relevant precedent says that a journalist has a First Amendment right of access to places closed to the public but open generally to the press. That includes press rooms and news conferences. In those places, if access is generally inclusive of the press, then access can’t be denied arbitrarily or absent compelling reasons. And the reasons that the White House gave were wholly unconvincing and uncompelling.’”
Also on Thursday PEN America released a statement about the Acosta matter. According to its website, PEN America, which was founded in 1922, “stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
Here’s PEN’s statement on the White House pulling Acosta’s press credentials:
“In late October PEN America filed suit against President Donald Trump arguing that his threats and use of the machinery of government to exact reprisals against journalists and media organizations violate the First Amendment. We specifically cited his threats to withdraw press credentials from reporters based on critical questions and stories as a prime example of this behavior. Regrettably, last night yet again the White House demonstrated precisely the pattern our lawsuit documents. The White House’s withdrawal of the press credentials of CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta was in clear retaliation for Acosta’s persistent questioning of the President on topics he did not wish to address during a press conference yesterday afternoon.
“The rescission of Acosta’s credentials, accompanied by a demonstrably false account by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of the actions that led to the withdrawal, are yet more evidence that the President and the administration feel no compunction about exacting punishment on journalists for hard-hitting coverage. The First Amendment protects our press from having to operate under the cloud of such intimidation and threatened reprisal. Our lawsuit is an effort to affirm that fundamental principle, and ensure that no one—not even the President of the United States—is given free rein to violate the Constitution.”