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CNN’s Jim Acosta loses White House access after contentious press hearing


Originally posted Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The White House suspended CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass onto the premises Wednesday hours after President Donald Trump called him a “rude, terrible person” for questioning him aggressively at a press conference.

Acosta was trying to ask a follow-up question after Trump had moved on. When a female aide tried to take the mic, he resisted. Later, the White house accused him of grabbing her hand, which did not appear to be the case in a video of the incident.

CNN quickly accused Trump’s spokeswoman of lying. 

“It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today's press conference. In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied," the network said in a statement on its PR Twitter account. "She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our support.”

Right before the alleged incident, Trump told Acosta: "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 Sanders is horrible. You shouldn't treat people that way."

Sanders in a series of Tweets called Acosta’s “behavior unacceptable.” 

“Contrary to CNN’s assertions there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today,” she added. “Only they would attack the President for not supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters.” 

While Acosta had plenty of supporters on social media, others thought he had gone too far and felt he had broken decorum.

But even conservative commentator Ben Shapiro questioned why the White House made up a reason to suspend his access that wasn’t true. 

The White House Correspondents Association objected to White House’s move to “punish a reporter with whom it has a difficult relationship. Revoking access to the White House complex is a reaction out of line to the purported offense and is unacceptable.”

It says interactions such as those between Acosta and Trump “however uncomfortable they may appear to be, help define the strength of our national institutions.”

The organization requested that the White House reverse its “weak and misguided action.” 

 


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.