CNN's Acosta is back in the White House after a court win

Marsha Scott
November 17, 2018

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration must at least temporarily reinstate CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's hard pass, delivering a victory to the network and other news organizations.

Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Mr Trump past year, said Mr Acosta's constitutional rights outweighed the White House's right to have an orderly news conference, the Washington Post reported.

But CNN fought back and filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning saying the revocation was a violation of his First Amendment rights of freedom of the press.

A federal judge, responding to CNN's request to act quickly, ordered the White House to reinstate reporter Jim Acosta's press pass.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta speaks with reporters outside of the US District courthouse.

CNN has argued that the ban on Acosta violated his First Amendment rights because it amounts to "viewpoint discrimination" - that is, the president is punishing him for statements and coverage he didn't like. A judge ruled: "That's not how it works".

Frustrated by Acosta's criticism of a campaign ad, Trump finally said: "You should let me run the country and you should run CNN".

There had been no response from the White House till the filing of this report.

President Trump has gone so far as to call journalists the "enemy of the people" and, at his rallies, crowds frequently break into chants of "CNN Sucks" as he routinely brands as "fake news" any coverage he deems unflattering.

Mr Acosta's lawyer called the ruling "a great day for the first amendment and journalism". But reporters must show respect, he said.

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The judge is a Trump appointee.

"The White House surely hoped that expelling a reporter would deter forceful questioning, but the court's ruling will have the opposite effect", Ben Wizner, the ACLU's director of speech, privacy and technology project wrote in a statement.

Until the White House's action last week, no reporter credentialed to cover the president had ever had a press pass revoked.

The White House later shifted its story to claim that Acosta was rude to reporters.

Kelly said the White House's accusations that Acosta placed his hands on an intern who was attempting to retrieve the microphone from Acosta was of "questionable accuracy". "If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a risky chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials".

White House officials had also accused Acosta of "placing his hands" on a White House press aide who had tried to take the microphone from him during the news conference.

He said the White House position on that conduct was clear and not discriminatory.

As WND reported, at the news conference Acosta began by challenging Trump's description of the Central American caravan as an "invasion". Mr. Trump said he has not yet submitted the answers because he "just finished them".

Exit quotation from Andrew Egger, recognizing the real victor today: "Acosta's tedious furrowed-brow posturing and spotlight-hogging and his fixation on Trump's meanness to the press are all catnip to a president who loves nothing more than to tell his fans that that's what journalists are all about". Thirteen news organisations, including the Washington Post and Fox News, said Wednesday they would jointly file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting CNN's position.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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