Accuracy in Media

CNN’s Jim Acosta warned conservative news organizations that a non-conservative president could do to them what President Donald Trump has done to Acosta and his network and that they may not like it. He may need a history lesson in presidential treatment of the press.

“To our friends in conservative media, Anderson, I say this, it is no guarantee that you get to stay in power forever,” Acosta said on “Anderson Cooper 360” on Monday. “Another administration could come in and do the very same thing to them and say, well, Donald Trump did it. Guess what, we’re going to do it to you guys too.”

Acosta has long claimed, without evidence, that Trump’s barbs – including calling CNN “Fake News” and “Enemy of the People” – threatened his ability to do his job.

But this attack appears motivated by two things. One was that Acosta has released a book entitled, “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America,” and is going on shows to promote it.

The other, according to “Jim Acosta Issues Stark Warning to ‘Friends in Conservative Media,’ by Lee Moran of HuffPost, is a video retweeted by Donald Trump Jr. that shows a golf cart running over a golfer on a tee box. The golfer’s head is covered with a CNN logo, but the golfer appears to be Trump, and the golf cart appears to have a “Hillary” sticker on the back.

Acosta told Cooper he wanted to “sort of take the big-picture view on this and say, ‘Is this the kind of country we want to hand off to the next generation, where we’re now comfortable from here on out saying that the press is the enemy of the people?”

Cooper responded by saying Republicans are in favor of “emergency executive power, you know, ruling by executive power … that when the shoe is on the other foot whether they’re going to like that.”

But President Obama, who took pride in governing with his phone and his pen without the need to negotiate with Congress, did much to expand executive power.

And there are plenty of examples of the media being treated harshly by the previous administration.

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn told the New York Times in 2009 that “We’re going to treat them [the media] the way we would treat an opponent.”

James Risen, then a reporter for the New York Times, said in 2015 that the Obama administration was “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune, in the closing days of the Obama administration, called it “the least transparent and the most antagonistic toward the media since the Nixon administration.”

The Obama administration prosecuted three times as many cases targeting whistleblowers and leakers than all previous administrations combined and repeatedly using the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law designed to go after communist spies, against reporters.

Fox News reporter James Rosen and his parents’ phones were bugged and the administration’s suggestion he was a “co-conspirator” for trying to get information on North Korea’s nuclear program.

There was eavesdropping on Sharyl Attkisson’s computer. The Obama administration posted the worst record in history for complying with Freedom of Information Act requests. There was routine banning of reporters and photographers from official events and the refusal to take questions at press events from conservative reporters.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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