The White House on Monday restored CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s hard press pass following a federal court order. But it’s new rules for press could make it easier for the White House to pull press credentials moving forward.
Nearly two weeks ago, the White House revoked Acosta’s hard pass after sparring with the president during a press conference. Although Acosta’s White House pass has been restored and CNN’s lawsuit vacated, others contend the new press rules overwhelmingly favor the Trump administration.
“These rules give the White House far too much discretion to avoid real scrutiny,” Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement. “The rules should be revised to ensure that no journalist gets kicked out of the White House for doing their job.”
As part of the new rules, the Trump administration put in place a ban on follow-up questions. Journalists will be permitted to ask a single question with no follow-ups, unless explicitly allowed by President Trump or the White House official running the press briefing.
The rules are as follows: 1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists; 2) At the discretion of the president or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow-up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor; 3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner; 4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass. (See full statement from WH Press Secretary below.)
What Others Are Saying;
White House Correspondents’ Association President Olivier Knox, in a statement, said, “The White House did the right thing in restoring Jim Acosta’s hard pass.” The statement continued, “The White House Correspondents’ Association had no role in crafting any procedures for future press conferences. For as long as there have been White House press conferences, White House reporters have asked follow-up questions. We fully expect this tradition will continue. We will continue to make the case that a free and independent news media plays a vital role in the health of our republic.”
Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis tweeted, “Under the new White House rules, if the president flat-out lies to you, you can only ask a followup challenging it if he agrees to let you. Otherwise they can pull your hard pass. They can also pull your hard pass if you ask two questions instead of one.”
Fox News’ Sean Hannity, on his Monday night broadcast, said the White House’s new rules “may have ultimately made it easier to kick out people.”
“Respondents decisively side against the media when it comes to fair and unbiased coverage of the President and Republicans,” says a new survey from McLaughlin & Associates. The study highlights that only 9 percent of Americans now say that news coverage in general is “fair or not biased” regarding President Trump and the GOP.