WASHINGTON: The banishment of CNN White House correspondent and overall ass hat, Jim Acosta, from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue continues to send the Trump-deranged press corp into conniption fits. The expulsion was the consequence of Acosta’s manhandling of a female White House intern during a heated press conference. He refused to surrender a microphone used by all White House reporters when asking President Trump loaded and accusatory questions.
CNN filed suit against the White House over its revoking of Acosta’s press pass, but more on that later.
The White House Correspondents Association called Acosta’s ejection “unacceptable” and a “weak and misguided action.” The New York Times’s Washington bureau chief said Trump “should not pick and choose who covers him, and he should certainly not force out a representative of one of the country’s leading news organizations.”
When reporters asked the president if Acosta would soon be allowed out of the doghouse and back into the White House, Trump said he had not yet decided, adding:
“But there could be others also.”
Happy Acostivus everyone!
A nuisance suit by a nuisance news network
In its legal action, CNN claims their reporter’s ouster violates his First Amendment rights. Understanding the flimsiness of that argument, the cable news network added that Trump’s move represents “a sharp break with decades of tradition.”
A tradition whose end must come
That tradition supposedly began when President Theodore Roosevelt took pity on two reporters standing in the rain. The president invited them inside the White House. That might be nothing more than legend, but it’s said the kind gesture eventually led to the permanent presence of journalists in the Executive Mansion.
Roosevelt, a politician who believed in activist government, used the White House press corps to present his progressive-era ideas to the public.
Historian Leonard Ray Teal wrote in his book “The Public Press, 1900-1945: The History of American Journalism”:
“Roosevelt probed journalists, tested his own ideas and slogans, and listened to their views. Lincoln Steffens claimed credit for suggesting Roosevelt’s ‘Square Deal’ slogan, and Ray Stannard Baker claimed Roosevelt borrowed his phrase ‘fetish of competition.’”
That relationship ended for Republican presidents with the election of staunch anti-communist Richard Nixon, who made the life of Truman administration functionary and Soviet Spy Alger Hiss a living hell.
No scandal to see here
But the relationship between the White House press and Democratic administrations has grown even closer.
Obama’s White House used the Internal Revenue Service to target Tea Party and conservative groups; allowed bureaucrats at the Veterans Administration to neglect and kill some of the nation’s wounded warriors; sold weapons to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel in Operation Fast and Furious; and used US intelligence services to spy on the Republican presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.
But with one voice, the White House press corps declared Obama’s tenure in office “scandal free.”
Whose house it is anyway?
Getting back to CNN’s lawsuit, Justice Department lawyers told the court:
“The President and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences.”
CNN itself admits the press corps sits in the White House as a matter of “tradition” and not law. And the Justice Department adds that this tradition is solely a matter of presidential discretion. That means it might be time for Trump to establish a new White House press corp custom.
Let’s call this new tradition “Acostivus.”
A new White House tradition we can all get behind
As the kids open their presents under the tree this Christmas morning, a camouflaged Humvee comes to a stop in front of every White House press corp correspondent’s home. In dress blues, complete with sheathed Mameluke sword, a US Marine hands the journalist his/her White House pass, folded neatly in the shape of a pyramid.
“On behalf of the President of the United States and a distrustful nation, please accept your revoked White House pass as a symbol of our contempt and little regard. God save the United States… from liars like you. Happy Acostivus!”
Then present White House press credentials to such publications as the Arizona Range News of Wilcox, Arizona. And television stations like KXGN of Glendive, Montana, which services 5,000 households.
Force the New York Times to begin a lead national news story with…
“According to Oregon’s Hells Canyon Journal…”
Or hear ABC’s pretty-boy newsreader David Muir say…
“Tonight, a story of national significance comes from our friends at independent television station KKRR of Cheyenne, Wyoming. They were granted an exclusive interview with President Trump earlier today and have kindly agreed to share it with us at ABC News. We’ll be back after the KKRR report with an ABC exclusive, featuring a piano-playing pig and this evening’s winning lottery numbers…”
Filling the White House press corps with journalists from a fly-over country will go a long way in ending biased, fake news, thus assuring a happy Acostivus for the rest of us.
Top Image: Photo illustration by the author.