On Wednesday afternoon, the President of the United States engaged in another unprovoked verbal attack on the news media during a post-election press conference. Wednesday night, the White House took the incredible step of revoking a reporter’s credentials for doing his job. The American Society of News Editors, the Associated Press Media Editors and the Online News Association condemn the President’s rhetoric and demand the immediate reinstatement of CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass.
Our organizations have — jointly and separately — raised concerns about the President’s attempts to delegitimize the press in the past, noting that his statements have no basis in fact, serve to stoke anger and fear in the public and embolden some to threaten or harass news professionals. As disturbing, outrageous and potentially dangerous as the President’s statements were, they pale in comparison to the decision of the White House to suspend Mr. Acosta’s press pass “until further notice” and deny him access to the White House grounds for doing nothing more than asking pointed questions of the President.
A free and independent press is currently one of the primary checks on this President. Calling us names does not dampen our enthusiasm to do our jobs. Calling us the enemy of the people does not affect our determination to serve our communities and the citizens of this country. Barring access to one reporter will not stop — or even soften — our questioning. Journalists work to report the news accurately and fairly, and that means asking hard questions of every elected official, including the President of the United States of America.