Tag Archives: CNN

CNN/Acosta matter contains quiet back story

Psst. Let me bring you in on a secret that virtually no one is talking about.

Federal Judge Timothy Kelly’s ruling that required Donald Trump and the White House to reinstate CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials speaks to the value of an independent federal judiciary.

The president ordered Acosta’s White House press pass yanked after the two men had a contentious exchange during a press conference the day after the midterm election.

CNN filed a complaint against the White House. Late this past week, Judge Kelly ruled in favor of CNN.

What makes the story interesting is that Kelly is a Donald Trump appointment. The new president nominated Kelly to the federal bench and he was confirmed by the Senate.

We’ve all talked at length about how U.S. Supreme Court justices side with the presidents who nominate them. The same occasionally is said about lower-court federal judges.

Judge Kelly took off in the opposite direction. His ruling wasn’t overly harsh, but it did go against the president who nominated him.

I mention this because it validates the value of an independent federal judiciary and the fact that these judges get lifetime appointments, leaving them free to rule independently. They are charged with interpreting the U.S. Constitution and with determining whether government actions concur or run counter to constitutional principles.

The president’s revocation of Acosta’s press credentials didn’t make the constitutional grade and Judge Kelly sided with the Constitution . . . and not the president who selected him.

That’s a good sign for the health of our federal judicial system.

CNN, Acosta score a win for the First Amendment

I am wondering now if Donald Trump’s “enemies of the people” list has just grown by one member.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee to the federal bench, has ruled that the White House must restore CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials.

The president ordered Acosta’s credentials yanked after he and the correspondent got into another public tussle at a press conference the day after the midterm election. It isn’t the first time Trump and Acosta have jousted.

Let me be clear on one thing. I detest the idea of a reporter becoming part of the story. That simply is not right. Acosta has this annoying way of thrusting himself onto the stage when reporting the news. For his part, though, the president reacts hideously when confronted with reporters who ask him tough questions.

The crux of the judge’s ruling seems to center on the stated reasons the White House yanked Acosta’s credentials. It changed its story, but the final version of the White House’s rationale is insufficient to merit such a drastic move, according to Judge Kelly.

This is a victory on behalf of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, the one that guarantees “freedom of the press” from government interference. And, yes, given the political nature of judicial appointments, I find it fascinating that a Trump-nominated judge would rule against this particular president who’s made such a hash of his dispute with the media.

If only now we can get back to some form of what’s called in Congress “regular order.” That means reporters ask questions, the person who gets the questions answers them, and the reporters move on to the next question. This White House vs. The Media idiocy has to stop. How about it stopping right now?

As for the judge ruling against the president who nominated him, it validates the notion that lifetime appointments have this liberating effect on those who have the authority to rule from the federal bench.

Media still doing their job — even under heavy fire

Ronald Reagan knew it. So did Gerald Ford. So does George W. Bush. Same with Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George H. W. Bush.

They knew that a free press is essential to a thriving democratic system of government. They knew the press, no matter how persistent it is in the pursuit of making government accountable, was integral to the maintenance of a free society.

Why, then, is these men’s successor, Donald John Trump, at war with the media? He has yanked the press credentials of CNN’s chief White House reporter, Jim Acosta. The president is threatening to confiscate the passes of other White House scribes.

He calls the media the “enemy of the people.” He acts like an autocrat. Trump wants the media to report only what he deems to be “favorable” to his agenda. He calls all other reportage to be “fake news,” which is a monstrously unfair characterization of the reporting they do. I usually equate “fake news” with circumstances that are made up, fabricated … the kind of lies that, say, suggest that a president isn’t constitutionally qualified to hold the office to which he was elected twice because he was born in Africa.

Trump’s suggestion that “fake news” is conveyed by major news media is the most hideous of the countless lies he has told since becoming a politician in his quest for the presidency.

The president’s ongoing combat with the media is a struggle he cannot win. Nor should he.

After all, the nation’s founders had the right idea by guaranteeing a free press in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, including it in the first set of civil liberties attached to the nation’s founding government document.

Return the press pass to CNN’s White House reporter

I’ll concede that Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, is a show-off who brims with misplaced self-importance.

He also is a journalist who works for a legitimate news-gathering organization — who has been singled out unfairly by the president of the United States.

The White House yanked Acosta’s press credentials. Why? It said initially he put his hands on a young intern who sought to grab a microphone out of Acosta’s hands while he was asking the president a question.

I watch the incident live as it happened. Then I saw it again, and again. He didn’t do anything of the sort. Now the White House is yammering a different line, that Acosta was too persistent in his questioning.

Give me a break!

The White House, let alone the president of the United States, cannot put government pressure on a media organization by this kind of bullying. That’s what they’re doing in the White House. They are trying to bully and intimidate the media, which seek to get answers on all manner of government policy.

CNN has sued the White House, protesting the decision to rescind the reporter’s press pass.

Acosta is known as an aggressive reporter. He is far from the first or even the worst. Do you remember how Sam Donaldson would tangle with President Reagan? Or how about when Dan Rather would get under President Nixon’s thin skin? Did either of those presidents yank their press credentials? No. They sucked it up. They answered their questions and let the reporters and their employers chronicle their answers.

Trump talks like some kind of tough guy. He isn’t. He demonstrates profound weakness by banishing an aggressive reporter, whose job is to ask difficult questions.

The president’s job requires him to provide answers.

Media have become part of the story? Sad

Jim Acosta is now a household name.

He is known to many Americans who by all rights shouldn’t really know — or really give a hoot — about someone who is just doing his job.

Acosta is chief White House correspondent for CNN, the cable news outlet that has been demonized by the president of the United States. Donald Trump has singled Acosta out as a “rude, terrible person” who conveys “fake news” for a network that should be “ashamed” to employ him.

This is not supposed to happen. Journalists get paid to report the news, not to become part of the news. It’s a trend that has been developing and evolving for some time, even pre-dating Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

Trump, though, has elevated this phenomenon to a level that many of us don’t understand or even recognize.

The White House has yanked Acosta’s press pass because he allegedly put his hands on a young intern who tried to grab a microphone from him Wednesday during a combative presidential news conference. I watched the incident as it happened; I didn’t see Acosta do anything of the sort.

Acosta isn’t the only reporter to be singled out by the president. April Ryan, a veteran political reporter, got roughed up by Trump on Wednesday. So did PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

There have been others. CNN’s Jake Tapper has felt the wrath of the president, who routinely blasts “failing” media outlets that publish or broadcast news reports the president deems to be “too negative.” Reporters for other broadcast and cable networks have been tagged as openly hostile. He calls them false, fake, a hoax.

Who’s to blame for this ridiculous turn of events? I lay this at the president’s feet. He has chosen to declare open rhetorical warfare on the media, the constitutionally protected profession he has labeled the “enemy of the American people.”

The president’s continuing hostility against the media only feeds the beast, if you will. He can end this idiotic feud simply by accepting that the media are going to report the news without regard to whether their reporting is favorable or unfavorable.

The media shouldn’t be part of the story.

Reporters, furthermore, shouldn’t become household names.

Tough to watch this exchange: Trump vs. Acosta

I’ll admit to anyone in the world that the exchange between Donald Trump and a notable CNN journalist, Jim Acosta, was difficult to watch.

The president called on Acosta to ask him a question during a White House post-midterm election press conference. Acosta posed the question and then Trump went off.

Acosta’s question dealt with the refugee “caravan.” Trump didn’t like the tone of the question and then he blasted Acosta for being a “rude, terrible person.” He said CNN “should be ashamed” for employing Acosta.

POTUS vs. CNN

Then, later in the day, the White House revoked Acosta’s press credentials, denying him access to sources within the White House and the West Wing.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a Twitter message that said: President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration. We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern…

So, that was the pretext for the White House pulling a CNN reporter’s credentials.

Nonsense. It’s shameful nonsense at that.

Trump dukes it out with the media … and the GOP losers

Donald John “Pugilist in Chief” Trump stood before the media and was in a fightin’ mood, to be sure.

Not only did he take on the media, calling them “unfair,” “rude,” “racist,” and all together comprising nasty individuals working for equally nasty organizations, he decided to call out Republican lawmakers who lost their re-election bids in the midterm election.

CNN’s Jim Acosta – of course! – was the president’s first target. Acosta sought to ask Trump a follow-up question, the president told him to sit down, calling him and his network a failure. A White House aide then sought to take the microphone from Acosta.

It only got worse from there.

Trump routinely interrupted reporters in the middle of their questions. He battled with them over what he says are their unfair and unfavorable coverage.

PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, an African-American reporter, was accused of asking Trump a “racist” question because she inquired about the way he has characterized the “caravan” moving slowly north from Latin America.

But he wasn’t done once he got through his usual media-bashing routine.

The president of the United States called out – by name! – a list of Republican lawmakers who he said failed to embrace him. They paid the price, according to Trump, by losing their re-election bid.

Good grief, dude! It’s one thing to lump a group of politicians together, calling out the group for their alleged lack of fealty to the president. It’s quite another to single them out by name, to hold them up as examples.

Is this the same guy who said he wanted to “unify” the country, who pledged to seek “peace and harmony”? Yep, it is. Believe … or not!

Docs set aside their own bias to do their job

What would you do … if someone is thrust into your care while he spews hatred against people of your faith?

Care for him? Would you call him what he is, a hate-filled bigot? Refuse to provide care?

Doctors and nurses who took care of the man accused of killing 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., this past Saturday answered the call. They exemplified the meaning of true service to others, even those who profess blind hatred toward them all.

A Jewish doctor and a Jewish nurse administered first aid to the suspect in this horrifying incident. They did so with professionalism and, I’ll presume, care.

The doctors take an oath that says they should “do no harm.” Nurses also are trained professionally to provide the best medical care they can deliver.

These individuals found themselves placed into a most uncomfortable circumstance when they were asked — or ordered — to care for an individual who committed the hate crime in U.S. history against Jewish Americans.

Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, the top administrator at Allegheny General Hospital, told CNN that the suspect was still screaming that he wanted to kill Jews.

“And the first three people who are taking care of him are Jewish,” Cohen said. “I said, ‘Well yeah, ain’t that a kick in the pants?'”

Indeed, Cohen happens to worship at Tree of Life.

As CNN reported: “The FBI agent in charge looked at me and says, ‘I don’t know how you did that ’cause I’m not sure I could have,'” Cohen recalled.

Cohen acknowledged that some on his staff had “conflicting emotions” about Bowers but said ultimately Allegheny General has one mission: to take care of sick people, regardless of who they are or their circumstances.
“We don’t ask questions (about) who they are. We don’t ask questions about their insurance status or whether they can pay,” he told CNN. “To us, they’re patients.”
Amazing.

Way more than ‘bomb stuff,’ Mr. POTUS

Donald Trump has this way of denigrating everyone and seemingly every matter of importance.

The terrorizing of Democratic political figures with pipe bombs is pretty damn critical … don’t you think? I do.

Yet the president put a Twitter message out this morning that referred to it as “bomb stuff” while lamenting the possible drag this crisis might have on the future of Republican politicians competing in the midterm election.

Wow! Amazing, if you ask me.

What’s more, I was glad to hear FBI Director Christopher Wray snuff out the idiotic notion being tossed around by right-wing politicians and media that the pipe bombs were a hoax, that the crisis was the product of a shadow liberal/progressive conspiracy to make Republicans look bad.

Wray said in no uncertain terms that is not the case. The bombs were real. The suspect they arrested today in Florida is known to be a Donald Trump supporter. Whoever sought to terrorize the Democratic pols, including two former presidents and CNN intended to terrorize them — if not harm them outright if the devices ever exploded.

This is a serious degradation of the political discourse. It is far worse than mere “bomb stuff.” The president should know better than to say such a thing … but he doesn’t.

POTUS’s call for ‘unity’ falls a bit short

Well, the president had a chance to make some serious amends for his contribution to the poisonous rhetoric that has infected our political discourse.

As usual, he fell short of the mark.

Donald Trump opened a political rally in Wisconsin tonight by calling for “peace and harmony.” He decried the discovery of bombs sent to the offices of Democratic officeholders, a key activist, and the CNN offices in New York City. That’s all good. I applaud the president’s effort on that score.

But then he failed to acknowledge his own role in creating the political toxicity. He didn’t mention how he has applauded the violence of a Montana congressman on a reporter, or how he has endorsed numerous other acts of physical intimidation.

Nope. He didn’t go there.

POTUS falls short

He railed against what he said “both sides” and the media are responsible. I agree that partisans on both sides have contributed to the toxic atmosphere. The media? Well, they have done their job, even if it includes publishing or broadcasting “negative” stories about the Trump administration. The president is not having any of the negative coverage, which he calls — in a fit of unfairness — “fake news.”

He ought to retract his statement that the media are “the enemy of the people.” He knows better than that, but he says it anyway, knowing that it fires up his political base.

So, what now? We’ll find out as the president continues to campaign for Republican candidates in this year’s midterm election. He wants them to win, but at what cost? Will he continue to denigrate, disparage and dismiss his foes as unpatriotic? Will he continue to foment fear and anger?

If he means what he says about his quest for “peace and harmony,” he can deliver the goods from any podium behind which he stands while bellowing his political rhetoric.