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After the White House Banned Jim Acosta, Should Other Journalists Boycott Its Press Briefings?

Snip[/iThis one, however, was easy to get right, in part because Donald Trump the candidate had made his attitude toward the press clear, and in part because I had worked as a journalist in Russia for many years. I may have been the first journalist blacklisted by the Kremlin back in 2000, Vladimir Putin’s first year as President. The Putin Administration went on to reduce the number of regular Presidential press conferences to one a year. (Sometimes Putin will be moved to hold an additional press conference or two, and he generally takes part in a brief, carefully orchestrated press appearance after meetings with foreign leaders.) The Trump Administration began asserting its power over White House correspondents by establishing that lying was a feature of its communications with the media, then excluded cameras from some White House briefings, then discontinued the practice of daily briefings, and has finally banned a reporter from the White House.

The Trump Administration has the media in a vise. On the one hand, most of what comes out of White House mouths is poison to the public conversation: because it’s a lie, or an expression of hate, or both. Simply reporting Trump’s lies and incendiary comments, however critically, serves to entrench his world view as a part of our shared reality. At the same time, he is the President. His Twitter pronouncements find a sympathetic audience among tens of millions of Americans. Refusing to engage with his words would mean refusing to engage with Trump voters and with the Trump Administration itself. It would mean walking away from politics altogether, which, for journalists, would be an abdication of responsibility.


Press Corps Backs CNN's Jim Acosta, Calling Out Sarah Huckabee Sanders For 'Complete Lie

Fellow journalists and members of the White House press corps came to the immediate defense of CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday after the Trump administration revoked his press credentials.


After repeatedly asking the president questions, provoking a heated outburst, an intern stepped forward to try to take a microphone from the CNN reporter as he moved to evade her. Within hours, Acosta said the Secret Service had denied him entry to White House grounds and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the reporter had placed his hands on the young woman.


Peter Baker, the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, said the move was a “very bad sign” and something he had “never seen since I started covering the White House in 1996.

That account prompted a full-throated outcry from many political journalists.

The White House Correspondents’ Association, a coalition of the reporters who cover the executive branch, released its strong objections to the move, calling the decision “out of line” and “unacceptable.”

“Journalists may use a range of approaches to carry out their jobs and the WHCA does not police the tone or frequency of the questions its members ask of powerful senior government officials, including the president,” the group wrote. “Such interactions, however uncomfortable they may appear to be, help define the strength of our national institutions.”

The group urged the White House to “immediately reverse this weak and misguided action” and encouraged the public to watch the video of Acosta’s interaction with the intern.

“Other presidents did not fear tough questioning,” Baker wrote on Twitter, noting that Trump may have intentionally called on Acosta to lash out. “If he really thought [Jim] was unfair, then why did he call on him? Because he wants the confrontation.”

Reuters’ White House correspondent Jeff Mason, who said he was seated next to Acosta, said he did not see his colleague “‘placing his hands’ on the young intern.”


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