The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Timeout Revoked

Breaking News! To the surprise of just about no one, CNN's little Jimmy Acosta had his timeout revoked (he got his White House credentials back). After all, lots of talking heads are telling us that taking Acosta's pass away was a real, real threat to freedom of the press. No matter that he acted like a five year old throwing a tantrum, refused to give up his microphone when asked, gave a long-winded (not to mention, logically incorrect speech before asking the president a "do you still beat your wife" question, and was disruptive and otherwise obnoxious. Apparently, the White House cannot police the behavior of its press guests (and that is exactly what they are, guests) because—vicious and unwarranted attack on the first amendment!!!!!!! What nonsense, what unadulterated hypocrisy, but whatever.

It's worth noting two important points:

1. Had brave little Jimmy spoken "truth to power" (well, in this case it's not truth, but why quibble) in the same way in a majority of all countries throughout the world, he would have lost far more than a press pass (think: Saudi Arabia).

2. When the previous president sicced the FBI on journalist James Rosen, that act was met with far less faux outrage, than when little Jimmy had his pass revoked.

I rarely agree with Glen Greenwald, but in this case he's on target:
Over the last two years, journalists and others have melodramatically claimed that press freedoms were being assaulted by the Trump administration due to trivial acts such as the President spouting adolescent insults on Twitter at Chuck Todd and Wolf Blitzer or banning Jim Acosta from White House press conferences due to his refusal to stop preening for a few minutes so as to allow other journalists to ask questions. Meanwhile, actual and real threats to press freedoms that began with the Obama DOJ and have escalated with the Trump DOJ – such as aggressive attempts to unearth and prosecute sources – have gone largely ignored if not applauded.
The press loves to play victim—beset by powerful forces that are a "threat to Democracy." There's only one problem—they are the powerful force that uses a protected first amendment platform to promote one narrative to the exclusion of others in a blatant attempt to control the news that the public consumes. They are becoming increasingly irrelevant and broadly distrusted. If they think that Little Jimmy's court victory is a broader victory for the press, they're wrong yet again.