Accuracy in Media

NBC’s Chuck Todd insulted the Trump administration’s guidelines for press conferences, calling them “absurd.”

The White House last week issued new standards for decorum in the wake of the disorderly behavior by CNN’s Jim Acosta at a recent press conference.

“These aren’t exactly pro-First Amendment rules,” Todd tweeted. “I assume there isn’t a single serious journalist in the WH press corps who would abide by these absurd ‘rules.’ Manners is one thing, but regulating follow-ups is a form of censorship”

Trump often speaks of a media double-standard against conservatives, and it’s apparent in the national media’s responses to the tales of Acosta and Corey Lewandowski. The contrast is stark as the media rallies behind CNN’s Acosta while rejecting Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, even though both men are accused of physical altercations against young women in the workplace.

In the age of #MeToo, the national media lacks awareness of this glaring hypocrisy.  Lewandowski apologized, was cleared of all charges in how he treated then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, and was let go from the Trump campaign.

Acosta’s physical aggression — swatting away a young woman, an intern who was doing her job — indicated his total disrespect for her. Where is the feminist media outcry, like the 16 conservative female journalists who called for Lewandowski’s firing?

The way Acosta diminished her humanity was evidenced by her subsequent humiliated crouching on the ground. Saturday Night Live might mock this young woman, but in the age of #MeToo, SNL and the mainstream media are missing the power play Acosta pulled here.

CNN is suing to get Acosta his press pass back to the White House, with CNN reporting outlets like the Associated Press, Fox News, NBC News, Gannett, POLITICO, USA Today and The New York Times have issued statements of support to CNN. Contrast this with the media’s negative characterizations in the Lewandowski case, which authorities declined to formally prosecute. Lewandowski submitted a formal apology, and Palm Beach County assistant prosecutor Adrienne Ellis told reporters the charges against Lewandowski “were undermined by the fact that, in the moments before the infamous arm-grab, Fields had entered a ‘protective bubble’ maintained by Secret Service agents, and made incidental contact with the candidate himself.”

Yet Politico reporting called Lewandowski “rough” when “moving [Fields] out of the way and nearly bringing her down to the ground,” while The New York Times said Lewandowski was “roughly pulling the reporter, Michelle Fields, out of his way.”National Review’s Jamie Weinstein called Lewandowski a “thug,” Vox accused Lewandowski of “violence,” and  NPR implied via CNN’s Jake Tapper  the altercation could have occurred because “Trump might be responsible for encouraging violence.”

Ironically, CNN itself recognized the media bias against Lewandowski when they hired him as a CNN contributor following the Fields incident, with CNN President Jeff Zucker stating criticism of hiring Lewandowski was because of “inherent media bias.”

“What he’s there to be is to provide his point of view and his insight into Trump and the Trump phenomenon,” Zucker said. “Nobody objects to the fact that many of our Democratic analysts have nary a negative word for Hillary Clinton, and so I do think there’s an inherent media bias when people attack on that side and don’t attack on the Democratic side.”

Supporters of the president argue that case law shows that the White House can ban disruptive, unprofessional individuals who impede the orderly process of a press conference.

Though today a federal judge ordered the White House to reinstate CNN correspondent Acosta’s press pass, case law clearly indicates there is no absolute First Amendment right for a specific journalist to access the White House. As was the case with other rulings in favor of the White House, I believe this case will be successfully appealed by the president’s team.

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