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CNN Could Sue The White House Over Jim Acosta Press Access Revocation

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Just recently, Blue Side Nation reported on the insane incident in a post-midterms White House press session in which CNN correspondent Jim Acosta engaged in a bizarre microphone wrestling match with an intern before having his press access revoked and getting into a spat with Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Twitter.

CNN has, of course, held its ground throughout this unprecedented exchange, defending Acosta to the fullest. Now, reports suggest it might be about to take its defense to a whole new level – by suing the White House.

CNN has received advice on this from Floyd Abrams, a veteran First Amendment lawyer and expert in constitutional law with a long career history of defending free speech and, crucially, the freedom of the press. He has advised CNN to sue the White House over the Acosta incident.

Speaking to CNN host Brian Stelter on the Reliable Sources show on Sunday, Abrams said he reckons CNN has a case. “I think it’s a really strong lawsuit,” he said. “I can understand CNN being reluctant to sue because the president keeps saying CNN is the enemy of me, and CNN might have reluctance to have a lawsuit titled ‘CNN vs. Donald Trump.’ That said, yes, I think they should sue.”

Abrams points out that Trump has frequently lambasted the media for its negative coverage of him, dubbing it the Fake News Media and the Enemy of the People. He is clearly heavily emotionally biased on the subject, which means that the White House is not at all an effective arbiter in such cases.

“This is going to happen again,” said Abrams. It’s likely to happen again. So whether it’s CNN suing or the next company suing, someone is going to have to bring a lawsuit. And whoever does is going to win unless there’s some sort of reason.”

He makes a good point. Trump’s aggression and hostility towards the press is not only unprecedented but also without grounding in law or the Constitution. Whereas the standpoint of the media, on the other hand, is grounded very firmly and very clearly in the First Amendment. Which means it’s hard to see how things could work in Trump’s favor in a court of law.

The case appears to be moving forward to some extent already. Former ABC White House reporter Sam Donaldson has reportedly been asked to prepare an affidavit to support CNN’s case. He commented that Trump’s decision to revoke Acosta’s credentials “is not only wrong and unfair, it’s dangerous for the press as a whole.”

CNN said in a statement, “No decisions have been made. We have reached out to the White House and gotten no response.”

This could get very serious very quickly.


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