Fox News Supporting CNN’s Jim Acosta

UPDATE–No ruling today but another hearing to be scheduled for Friday at 10:00 A.M.

Fox News is supporting CNN in its legal fight against the Trump administration for White House access. Fox News president Jay Wallace released a strong statement and also filed an amicus brief.

“Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people,” Wallace said in the statement.

According to the CNN public relations Twitter account, Fox News is now far from the only outlet to stand up for CNN. ABC and CBS News expressed their support for CNN and Jim Acosta, filing friend-of-the-court briefings of their own.

A number of free press organizations have also condemned the White House’s move to ban Acosta from having White House access.

The administration on Wednesday asserted “broad discretion” to regulate journalists’ access to the White House, a sweeping claim that could have a dramatic impact on news organizations’ ability to cover government officials if it is upheld in court. Judge Timothy Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments Wednesday in the lawsuit.

The judge in the CNN lawsuit against the Trump administration to reinstate White House reporter Acosta is supposed to issue a decision by 3 P.M.

I Stand With Jim Acosta

As a former radio news reporter and broadcaster I stand with those who work in the professional news media.  As an American I stand for the First Amendment.  As such, I am shoulder to shoulder tonight with Jim Acosta.

If Jim were at my kitchen table with a mug of coffee I would say the same as I post here.  If a person in power is going to abuse that power, use bully tactics, and pit citizens in this country against each other, it is your job to call that in question.

Tonight Orange Mussolini took the exceedingly rare step of suspending the White House credentials of Acosta, the chief White House correspondent for CNN.  Earlier today Acosta did his job as a reporter.  Trump was in a snit over the loss of the House in Tuesday’s election and started an intense verbal clash.

This whole episode is nothing short of the utterly disgusting way that Sarah Huckabee Sanders does her job and lives her life.  She is a sham in a dress.  Nothing more and tonight proved it.

Do Cable News Channels Know Of A Place Called Venezuela?

After the all-news cable channels have regurgitated the latest crazy tweet from Donald Trump for the 25th time, or pondered the future of Nancy Pelosi for the umpteenth time, might it be possible to give any air time to–pick a place around the world?

But for this post let us select Venezuela.

In brief, here is the tragic story of the lives of those subjected to the actions of President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

Hundreds of Venezuelans, some of whom walked 900 miles to escape economic disaster back home, saw their journeys abruptly halted this weekend on a frigid, remote border with Ecuador.

Like other Latin American countries hosting thousands of fleeing Venezuelans, Ecuador suddenly erected a new entry barrier on Saturday requiring in this case passports rather than the national I.D. cards they accepted before.

The standoff is part a growing backlash from some of the countries—among them Ecuador, Peru and Brazil—that have received 2.3 million exiled Venezuelan since 2014. The humanitarian exodus from Venezuela, hobbled by 1 million percent inflation this year, rolling blackouts and collapsing public services, has accelerated in recent months with increasingly poor people fleeing, say government officials in Colombia and elsewhere.

The plight of refugees came as Maduro’s government began on Monday rolling out a plan to raise the minimum wage by 6,000%, hike taxes and institute a currency devaluation—measures Venezuelans said would paralyze the economy and prompt more people to flee.

Cable news viewers would only come to know of such reports from the BBC, NPR, or national newspapers like The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.  It is truly amazing, and sad, that so much air-time is given to repeating over and over with different ‘talking heads’ the same headline.  Meanwhile there are places like Gaza, Turkey and a Greek island of Tilos which are making news which our nation needs to be aware of—

Meanwhile, did you know that Trump is not a good speller……..

Deplorables On Parade At Trump Tampa Rally

Donald Trump continually gathers ugly Americans, people once controversially described as “deplorables.” Yet this is clearly deplorable conduct. It is sad that Trump believes he wins by making frightened people feel more afraid. History will not treat him — or them — well!

Recall the words of Republican Senator Jeff Flake.

“So fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even [Soviet leader] Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

YES, YOU DO!

This Is An Apple

Enough said.

CNN Correctly Said No To Airing Trump Campaign Ad

Though it creates another opportunity for President Trump to lash out at the media in ways that mimic Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union, the recent action by CNN was necessary.

Yesterday Trump’s re-election campaign accused CNN of censorship, alleging the network turned down a paid campaign advertisement released Sunday.  What the trump campaign neglected to mention is that in the ad, media figures, including a slew of CNN’s TV journalists, were labeled “the president’s enemies.”   Just one pair of jackboots away from saying what the Trump Team really wish to say.

CNN has said it will “accept the ad if the images of reporters and anchors are removed.”

As it should be.

There is no responsible political operation–regardless of its partisan nature–who has the right to think attacking a most important part of our democracy is in anyway appropriate.  Given that journalists are more important to a republic than a standing army, and that there is so much violence bring promoted by this White House, it then goes without saying airing an ad that attacks the media is a non-starter.

Please note that as this story was playing out Trump also rightly drew criticism Tuesday for sharing a cartoon photo of a “Trump” train running over a man meant to represent a CNN reporter. Knowing that is was inciting violence that tweet was removed soon after it was posted.

The meme was similar to one Trump re-tweeted in July, which featured Trump at a wrestling event smacking down a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his head.

There is no need to ramp up the bile and vinegar from the Trump team that is only meant to create outrage form their base which doesn’t know better.

Stopping Violence Against Reporters

I started to fear two things when Donald Trump ramped up his diatribes against journalists during the campaign, and used the same language as tyrants from the pages of history when berating the press.  My first concern was for the safety of reporters and journalists.  Second was the safety of our republic from a person–Trump–who has authoritarian aims.  What took place over the just concluded holiday period was most telling, and shocking.

Trump blasting the news media is nothing new, of course.  Recall that earlier this year Trump uttered the phrase “fake news” seven times during a White House news conference.   But his labeling the media as the “enemy of the American people” as he has done in the past places Trump alongside tyrants throughout history that were fond of that phrase.   History buffs , like myself, remember that the phrase was used during the purges ordered by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.  The expression was also a favorite of China’s Mao Zedong, who used the “enemies of the people” label against anyone who opposed his policies. Identifying and later punishing those enemies was central to Mao’s rule.

After the troubling video this week of Trump beating senseless a person with a CNN mask digitally placed over his face means that we, as a nation, need to not only condemn such actions, but better understand the role of reporters and the part they contribute to our democracy. 

For more than a year many of these organizations — including the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press — have issued statements raising the alarm over Trump’s rhetoric and his administration’s attempts to restrict media access. CPJ’s website normally documents violence against reporters, detention of journalists or other measures to stifle the free press in places like Turkey, Venezuela or Azerbaijan. This month, though, the group will launch a project in conjunction with several other free-press organizations to document media restrictions and other incidents, including violent threats or attacks, against journalists in the United States.

Few are suggesting that the country is starting to veer toward the path of places like Russia, where reporters are sometimes mysteriously killed after tough reporting. The United States is unique with its First Amendment to the Constitution, backed by a strong court system and bipartisan consensus in favor of free speech. But a fear still exists among free-press advocates that extreme rhetoric demonizing media organizations can lead to extreme acts.