Obstruction of Free Press

Donald Trump and CNN anchor Jim Acosta’s ongoing feud has been brought into the spotlight yet again this week when Trump repeatedly refused to answer Acosta’s questions during a press conference. While Acosta was trying to ask a question about the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, a female White House intern was instructed to take the microphone away from Acosta. He was trying to refuse and appeared to snatch the microphone back from the intern. A doctored video was released that showed the incident at a faster speed to make it appear as though Acosta was reacting almost violently towards the women. Trump never answered his question and told him what a “rude, terrible person” he was and that “CNN should be ashamed to itself” for hiring him. Later that day, the White House announced that Acosta’s press credentials would be revoked, which Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said was a result of his behavior and the yanking of the microphone from the intern.

This is not the first incident of Trump trying to silence the press, specifically CNN. The President repeatedly accuses the network of putting out false information and “fake news”. During Justice Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation process, Acosta suggested that Trump calls on a woman reporter during a press conference so that she may ask a question regarding the allegations against Kavanaugh. Clearly annoyed, Trump responded by saying, “It wouldn’t make a difference to me”. This is not the first time Trump has avoided female reporters in hopes of not having to answer the difficult questions.

Trump has accused many news outlets of reporting fake news when it is, in fact, he who is avoiding questions in hopes of changing the news stories to portray only what he wants. His avoidance of questions is not only childish but shows a blatant disrespect for freedom of the press. Trump has alluded in several of his tweets that news outlets that do not portray him in a positive light will have restricted access to presidential press conferences. He has even threatened to cancel all future press briefings and instead send out a written report so that there is no “confusion”. In reality, this would allow the White House to frame news stories however they please in a format that did not allow for follow up questions.