CNN Must Use Decorum in Covering White House [OPINION]
The national press has become an embarrassment unto itself, and ought to just do its job and quit the whining.
Most people dislike and distrust the press, and have little sympathy when President Trump picks on it and his administration boots a reporter from a press event. Especially if its CNN.
On Wednesday, CNN White House pool reporter Kaitlan Collins was dis-invited from a press event Trump was to have with a trade rep from the European Union. The press, including rival networks, went berserk. Even Fox News Anchor Brett Baier came to the defense of the competition:
Fox News took it's share of abuse during the Obama Administration.
CNN was not barred from the event--just Collins--because of her "disruptive" behavior at another press event earlier in the day. The White House Communications Office says Collins behaved in an inappropriate manner when she continued to holler questions at Trump when the event was over, and after she has been asked several times to leave.
"Did Michael Cohen betray you, Mr. President?," she shouted. "Mr. President, did Michael Cohen betray you? Mr. President, are you worried about what Michael Cohen is going to say to prosecutors?"
"Why has Vladimir Putin not accepted your invitation?" she continued. "Why has Vladimir Putin not accepted your invitation, Mr. President? Are you worried about what is on the other tapes, Mr. President?"
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement:
“At the conclusion of a press event in the Oval Office a reporter shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so...Subsequently, our staff informed her she was not welcome to participate in the next event but made clear that any other journalist from her network could attend. She said it didn’t matter to her because she hadn’t planned to be there anyway. To be clear, we support a free press and ask that everyone be respectful of the presidency and guests at the White House.”
The press thinks Trump is tough. In 1798 President John Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Act that punished, through fines and even imprisonment, members of the press who might "write, print, utter, or publish any false, scandalous and malicious writing" against the government. Nearly two dozen newspaper editors were arrested, and some went to jail.
Another Sedition Act was enacted by Congress in 1918 under Warren Harding towards the end of World War I. To my knowledge, no journalists were punished, as most seemed to support the act.
Tough questioning of the president is expected. It comes with the territory. But showboating for the cameras does not have to be tolerated by the White House, and apparently will not be.
Keep in mind, no administration is required to conduct press briefings, and no member of the working press has an absolute right to press credentials. A certain amount of decorum is required when covering the president, regardless of who it is and regardless of the reporter's opinion of that president.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.