After a contentious argument with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta at today’s press conference, President Trump took his vindictive revenge on the outspoken reporter this afternoon, revoking his Oval Office press credentials and notifying the Secret Service that the man who dared to challenge his evasive and untruthful responses to the questions being asked that Acosta was now a persona non grata in the administration.
Acosta broke the news himself with a Twitter post that shows the moment that the Secret Service officer asks the astonished reporter to hand over his credentials at the White House gates.
The US Secret Service just asked for my credential to enter the WH. As I told the officer, I don’t blame him. I know he’s just doing his job. (Sorry this video is not rightside up) pic.twitter.com/juQeuj3B9R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 8, 2018
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Trump’s petty move marks an extreme escalation in his war against the free press in general and CNN in particular.
His constant labeling of news outlets as “fake news” and “enemies of the people” when they report actual facts that reflect negatively on him and his failing administration (if he can say that about The New York Times, then his own incompetent administration which just lost control of a crucial branch of government surely deserves that descriptor) has already created an atmosphere that has resulted in the mailing of pipe bombs to CNN and other media companies and has emboldened the Saudi Government to believe that they could get away with the assassination and dismemberment of a prominent journalist critical of their own rulers without consequence.
The administration is trying to peddle the phony excuse that Acosta was banned because he assaulted a female press aide at today’s news conference when she tried to pry the microphone out of his hands while Acosta was trying to get the president to actually answer the question that he had asked rather than continue to evade the reporter’s inquiry.
The irony of the accusation — which is easily disputed by the video evidence of the interaction — was somehow lost on a White House that spent so much of its time recently defending the accused sexual assaulter who wound up being confirmed to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, not to mention the administration’s long sheltering of the domestic abuser and former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter.
The removal of Acosta’s credentials is one more step by the administration in achieving its unstated goal of undermining our first amendment rights.
If progressives don’t respond with a furor at least as vehement as the right-wing’s defense of their second amendment gun rights, we’ll be well on our way to seeing this president continue to erode our freedoms and bring us closer to the authoritarian state he so deeply wants to rule.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.