About Time

Jim Acosta has it easy compared to Jamal Khashoggi.

The President held a press conference today. During the Q & A President Trump had enough of CNN’s Jim Acosta and told him to sit down. Of course he didn’t. This prompted the President to make the following remarks. He demonstrated once again that he is a keen judge of character.

“That’s enough. Put down the mike. I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN. You’re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way,” he said, referring to his spokeswoman, who frequently spars with reporters during press briefings.

President Donald Trump referring to Jim Acosta

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press. That does not assure freedom of access. Every hour of every day some place in the United States, reporters are subjected to doors being slammed, telephones hung up or directions to”fuck off.” There is no requirement that the object of press inquiries cooperate. This holds for private citizens and public officials. 

The Freedom of Information Act may require that the government produce documents and related items for public purview. It doesn’t compel speech. In defending Acosta the press is pulling a “bait and switch.” They are trying two conflate two separate and distinct issues. One is the right of a free press to pursue their trade. The second is the right of individuals and organizations to control the forum where that exchange of information takes place.

A reporter has no right to force an individual to answer questions, even the government can’t do that. The reporter also has no right of access to non public places. The White House may be a tax payer funded place, but it is not a public place. Access is subject to a variety of rules and protocols. Entry is granted to those that meet established criteria. Entry granted is just as easily revoked.

Acosta has violated the criteria by assaulting a White House intern and failing to follow press protocol. While the assault is a new wrinkle, Acosta and CNN have repeatedly violated acceptable standards governing the behavior of the press. Half baked and outright false stories are not consistent with acceptable journalistic standards. CNN would have the public believe that the suspension of Acosta’s White House pass is an assault on all journalists. They are wrong. It is an action directed at all dishonest journalists that act like assholes.

 Since Acosta is no longer accredited to the White House, a foreign assignment is just the ticket. Send him to Saudi Arabia to cover the King. Let’s see how big his balls are. 

The First Amendment calls for freedom of the press. It doesn’t give license to any individual or organization to run roughshod over the targets of their story. Acosta is not prohibited from covering supermarket openings, cuddly kitten stories, and PTA meetings. He can even continue to cover the White House. He just has to do it from the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ever since the middle seventies the press has pushed the false narrative that “All the President’s Men” is representative of the main stream media. Hollywood did a far better representation of the press, as it really is, thirty-six years earlier. The movie is called “His Girl Friday.”

Why would anybody trust an organization that obeys no rules and tolerates no criticisms. Whose members are not accountable when they make mistakes or are caught in outright lies. 

It is important to remember that the goal of a free press is to sell tampons and toilet paper, nothing else counts.