American Elephants

The President Has to Give Jim Acosta’s Press Pass Back! by The Elephant's Child

A  Trump-appointed judge has ruled that the President has to give Jim Acosta his White House press pass back, and based his ruling on an only partly-related due process precedent instead of plain common sense. That’s apparently a lawyer thing, to search for precedent first. I object, but I don’t count either. My precedent goes back to the First Amendment’s statement that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. When the First Amendment was ratified in 1791, “the press” referred to the printing press. There were no reporters and there was certainly no press gaggle. In larger towns there was a town crier, and the amendment said that printers could print whatever they chose without government approval or interference. I am clearly not a lawyer, but the Constitution was devised to protect the people from an overbearing government, not the other way around.

There was no White House, the White house was built between 1792 and 1800. So I would contend that the term “the press” doesn’t include reporters at all. The first “press conference” occurred during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency by accident. He apparently said some things to reporters which were then printed, and he liked that and decided to do it again. “Press Conferences” have been different for different presidents since then, with each president deciding how to handle them. And different presidents had different relationships with the press as well– friendly, or not so much.

Huffington Post 3/04/15: “Obama Administration’s Relationship With The Press Among The Worst Ever, Report Shows”

Rolling  Stone 8/04/14: “The White House Distrusts the Media, Reporters Feel Persecuted – a former Obama Spokesman on the history of the toxic relationship” (The wonderful illustration by Victor Juhaz accompanied this article)

MSNBC 9/12/13: “Obama and the press: A relationship in the rough”

the hill 12/19/16:Obama’s legacy will be one of secrecy and hostility toward the press”

Washington Post 05/08/14  “The Obama White House has a terrible relationship with the Press Corps: whose fault is that?”

The President’s response was a mild “well, we will just publish rules of deportment for members of the press who clearly don’t know how to behave.” (not a direct quote.)

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