Should President Trump have the right to revoke press credentials? | The Tylt

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Should President Trump have the right to revoke press credentials?

Rolling Stone wrote a feature on the whole briefing, which was one of the more wild ones the president has hosted. After the briefing ended, Sarah Sanders took to Twitter to explain the White House's position on Acosta's behavior. 

This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history.
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. Only they would attack the President for not supporting a free press in the midst of him taking 68 questions from 35 different reporters...
...over the course of 1.5 hours including several from the reporter in question. The fact that CNN is proud of the way their employee behaved is not only disgusting, it‘s an example of their outrageous disregard for everyone, including young women, who work in this Administration
As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice.

Acosta, for his part, tweeted: "This is a lie." 


Within the week, CNN had filed suit against Donald Trump and several senior White House aides. CNN is asking a judge to order the White House to return Acosta's restraining order via "a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction." Per the Hollywood Reporter

"CNN [sic] a lawsuit against the Trump administration in D.C. District Court," the network said in a statement. "It demands the return of the White House credentials of CNN's chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta's First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process."
CNN continued: "We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass to be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process. While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone. If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers elected officials."
...Of the White House's decision to suspend Acosta's access, the plaintiffs argued in the suit: "This severe and unprecedented punishment is the culmination of years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta based on the contents of their reporting — an unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge and dispute the President’s point of view."

CNN reports that the revocation of Acosta's press credentials goes against years of standards. 

Trump's threats fly in the face of decades of tradition and precedent. Republican and Democratic administrations alike have had a permissive approach toward press passes, erring on the side of greater access, even for obscure, partisan or fringe outlets.
That is one of the reasons why First Amendment attorneys say CNN and Acosta have a strong case.
As the prospect of a lawsuit loomed on Sunday, attorney Floyd Abrams, one of the country's most respected First Amendment lawyers, said the relevant precedent is a 1977 ruling in favor of Robert Sherrill, a muckraking journalist who was denied access to the White House in 1966.
Eleven years later, a D.C. Court of Appeals judge ruled that the Secret Service had to establish "narrow and specific" standards for judging applicants. In practice, the key question is whether the applicant would pose a threat to the president.
The code of federal regulations states that "in granting or denying a request for a security clearance made in response to an application for a White House press pass, officials of the Secret Service will be guided solely by the principle of whether the applicant presents a potential source of physical danger to the President and/or the family of the President so serious as to justify his or her exclusion from White House press privileges."
There are other guidelines as well. Abrams said the case law specifies that before a press pass is denied, "you have to have notice, you have to have a chance to respond, and you have to have a written opinion by the White House as to what it's doing and why, so the courts can examine it."
"We've had none of those things here," Abrams said.

The president has considered revoking press credentials before, tweeting about the issue to his millions of followers in May 2018.


In response to the lawsuit, the White House issued a statement backing up their decision to revoke Acosta's credentials. Per the Guardian

It began: “We have been advised that CNN has filed a complaint challenging the suspension of Jim Acosta’s hard pass. This is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against this lawsuit.”
The statement went on to say that CNN has almost 50 additional hard pass holders, “and Mr Acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the first amendment”.
The White House said this was not the first time Acosta had refused to “yield to other reporters” during a press conference. “After Mr Acosta asked the president two questions – each of which the president answered – he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions.”
It concluded: “The first amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolize the floor. If there is no check on this type of behavior it impedes the ability of the president, the White House staff, and members of the media to conduct business.”

Critics and pundits have been weighing in on the lawsuit on social media and at news outlets. Most believe that CNN has a strong case and will likely win. Renato Mariotti, a CNN Legal Analyst, shared his thoughts on Twitter

5/ Overall, CNN has a very strong claim, particularly under the First Amendment. The Administration has provided shifting explanations for its adverse action against Acosta, first falsely claiming that he "laid hands" on an intern and releasing an altered video.
6/ Trump's hostile words against CNN and Acosta in particular, including his words on the day the credentials were revoked, suggest that his view of Acosta's coverage of Trump played a role in the decision. If it did, it's likely unlawful "viewpoint discrimination." /end
Should President Trump have the right to revoke press credentials?
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