WASHINGTON — Various media outlets are filing amicus briefs in support of CNN’s efforts to legally require the Trump administration to reverse their decision to bar correspondent Jim Acosta’s access to the White House.
Those who have jumped on include CBS, NBC and Fox News; the latter usually scolds CNN in the network’s editorial programming.
“Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,” Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement. “While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”
The news comes the day after CNN filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump as well as senior administration officials attempting to compel the White House to return Acosta’s credentials and acknowledge or grant him due process.
The lawsuit also asks for the Trump administration to formally acknowledge that their behavior was out of line.
The brewing legal fight was sparked last Wednesday, when Acosta and Trump clashed at a press conference in the White House East Wing.
Acosta attempted to pepper the president with questions while a White House intern reached for the microphone, prompting the reporter to pull it back.
Trump derided Acosta as continually “rude” and said that CNN should be ashamed to employ him.
Hours later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who is also named in the suit, said Acosta’s press pass would be suspended until further notice.
Sanders initially claimed that Acosta placed his hands on the female aide, but video footage shows a light graze, at best.
On Friday, Trump countered his spokesperson’s reasoning for the credential being seized, telling reporters that it was primarily couched in perceived disrespect to the White House and the office of the presidency.
As for the tussle with the intern, Trump said that it wasn’t “overtly … horrible.”
The shifting narrative found its way into the suit, which cites it in making the case that Acosta’s First Amendment rights were impeded for his style of questioning rather than any legitimate misconduct.
On Wednesday, the Justice Department responded to the suit with a 28-page filing arguing that access to the White House is not an inherent First Amendment right.
“The First Amendment simply does not regulate these decisions,” the filing states. “The First Amendment does not impose stricter requirements when journalists, as a subset of the public, are granted or denied access to the White House.”