Last week with no notice or discussion, at President Trump's order the White House revoked the hard pass of CNN's Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. A federal judge ordered the pass reinstated for 14 days to allow the White House time to review their decision. The judge's ruling suggested Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights, including due process, had been violated.
President Trump, last week also, suggested more passes may be revoked, making it clear his goal ultimately is to only allow news organizations who deliver favorable reports access to the White House.
Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple posted the new White House rules. Key among the short list is that reporters get to ask only one question. Asking a follow-up, which is standard practice, and important in the effort to gain the truth, can get a reporter's press pass revoked.
"A journalist called upon to ask a question all ask a single question, and then will yield the floor to other journalists," the rule, which was sent to Acosta directly, states.
A follow-up question "may be permitted," it says, but only at "the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions."
Failure to "abide by" the rules can result in suspension or revocation of the journalist's pass.
Per White House letter to Acosta on Nov. 19, here are the new rules for press conferences at the White House. pic.twitter.com/a6C2pmLv2K
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) November 19, 2018
The White House adds that "a more elaborate and comprehensive set of rules might need to be devised."
The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale, who has chronicled every one of the President's false statements since he took office, makes clear that the White House is "specifically saying that asking an unapproved follow-up question may result in the suspension or revocation of a reporter’s White House pass."
So, out of their Acosta nonsense, the White House has made it a punishable violation for anyone to say “could you please address the specific question I asked,” “could you please provide an example,” or “that’s actually not true” without their permission? https://t.co/mub4FYH9tx
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 19, 2018
Former Obama NSC spokesperson Tommy Vietor responds by calling the threat off revocation "crazy," and says the White House Correspondents' Association "shouldn’t go along with it."
The White House has backed away from its threat earlier today that it would automatically be revoking Acosta's press pass when the judge's restraining order expires in two weeks.
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