Open Letter to News Consumers


President Donald Trump watches as a White House aide takes away a microphone from CNN journalist Jim Acosta during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Northern Star Editorial Board

The Northern Star Editorial Board believes CNN is right in suing President Trump and his aides for baring correspondent Jim Acosta.

In a Nov. 7 news conference, Acosta, CNN Chief White House correspondent, asked the president questions about the immigrants on the caravan coming from Honduras, which incited a heated back-and-forth debate. President Trump refused to answer the question, even going so far as to walk away from the podium for a moment before lashing out at Acosta, calling him a terrible person.

Following the conference, Acosta was informed his “hard pass,” which allows him access to the White House for news conferences, had been temporarily suspended, according to Acosta during a Nov. 7 interview with CNN.

The original reason the White House provided for revoking Acosta’s “hard pass”  was founded on the outlandish accusation he had groped the intern who attempted to take the microphone from his hand; however, a video of the conference shows that never happened.

The White House later changed their statement to a more vague one when Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House Press Secretary, said the suspension was due to Acosta’s behavior during the news conference, according to a Nov. 7 New York Times article.

CNN announced Tuesday it is suing President Trump and his aides on the charge of a violation of Acosta’s First Amendment rights.

The Northern Star Editorial Board believes CNN is correct in arguing  this suspension violates Acosta’s rights. The First Amendment states that anyone has the right to freedom of speech and of the press, according to the Constitution. This means anyone can cover any topic in the press. The president taking away a pass that allows Acosta to cover presidential conferences is a direct violation of that amendment because there is no viable reason for doing so.

The president should not have the authority to pick and choose who covers him in the press. Taking away Acosta’s pass also violates his right of free press under the First Amendment.

The president is just looking for an excuse to prevent Acosta from doing his job and attending press conferences as this is not Trump’s first dispute with CNN or its correspondents.

The conflicting reasons for Acosta’s suspension show the White House had no precedent to suspend him, and they are scrambling to find a way to keep him from doing his job.

While we disagree with Acosta’s reluctance to give up the microphone, the Editorial Board feels whether or not Acosta should be held accountable for his actions should be addressed within CNN, not the White House administration. Acosta’s First Amendment rights should not be taken away simply because the president disagreed with his line of questioning.