Editorial: Standing With Acosta

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Today a ruling for a temporary restraining order was issued in the Lawsuit by CNN against Donald Trump. At it’s most basic level, it says that you can’t ignore the Constitution in regards to interacting with others. Everyone is afforded the right to have a process followed. The court ruled that process for removal of Press Credentials was not followed.

Much has been talked about this being a Freedom of the Press issue. Like the original founding concerns, that we value the freedom to speak our opinion, even if it is counter to the ruler’s views. The freedom of press has been mainly about the ability to hold differing opinions. I do not believe it speaks to movement or access. So I don’t agree that it is a freedom to access the White House.

Press Credentials are a privilege. They are not easy to obtain, and there is always a process that is listed in the agreements signed that detail how the credentials can be taken, or denied. Some venues spell out that your credentials can be pulled at anytime. It is spelled out in the information you agree to when applying.

The problem would come, if an individual took it upon themselves to remove or deny credentials just because they wanted to, and to do so without that process that was listed in the agreements.

As an editor and reporter, I work to conform my actions and interactions to the expectations of the venue I am working in. There are times when I have to ask tough questions, and touch on sensitive issues. I don’t relish them, but it is my job to share that information for you. Sometimes the editors I work with on a freelance basis, need specific information, and require it of me. Bosses can demand tough questions be asked.

I have no issue with removal of press credentials that are done within the process defined. If the White House had a policy process that said the president can revoke and remove credentials of whoever he wants at anytime, I doubt this would have been an issue in the court.

"...given the First Amendment interests that are implicated, a journalist must not be denied a hard pass without due process. See Sherrill, 569 F.2d at 130-31 (“This first amendment interest [in a White House press pass] undoubtedly qualifies as liberty which may not be denied without due process of law under the fifth amendment.”); id. at 131 n.22 (“A related and perhaps equally compelling property interest [implicated by a White House presspass] may also be said to require the procedural protections of the fifth amendment.”). To pass constitutional muster, the process provided must include, at a minimum, “notice of the factual bases for denial, an opportunity for the applicant to respond to these, and a final written statement of the reasons for denial.” Id. at 130."  From White House Coorespondents Association Amicus Brief.

We have a Constitution for a reason, the rule of law is the backbone of our society. When we start to violate the rules we have put in place, we will have many consequences. I stand with Jim Acosta because he deserved to have the process related to his press credentials followed.  The court today agreed. It is not about his content or whether the president liked him or not, we have procedures for reasons and we need to be mindful of them.

Categories: Editor Thoughts

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