Noah Ashe, RWU junior majoring in journalism and political science:
The President of the United States and CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta engaged in a tense exchange on Wednesday, Nov. 7, that saw President Trump having one of his aides take the microphone out of Acosta’s hands and the President berating the reporter, calling him a “rude and terrible person.”
Acosta, CNN’s longstanding White House correspondent, was not doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary. He was fulfilling his constitutional duty and exercising his First Amendment rights by asking the President hard questions and pressing him on some of the most controversial issues facing our country today.
President Trump has made his hostility toward the free press clear for a long time. His attacks on the mainstream media set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the country.
As a young journalist, I can admit that the media is not always perfect. However, since the founding of this country, we have maintained a free press to hold government and government officials accountable. The White House press corps exists for the sole purpose of holding the White House and the President accountable to the American public.
I cannot stay silent on this. While the relationship between the press and the White House has always been turbulent, it is utterly disgusting and heartbreaking that the President of the United States would have the audacity to attack a journalist in such an ugly and public manner. Unfortunately, we have a leader in the White House who is thin-skinned and does not take criticism well.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later announced that Acosta had his press credentials revoked by the White House. She claimed Acosta put “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern” during the session — a claim that does not appear to be supported by video of the incident.
The White House should return Acosta’s press credentials immediately.
I would like to remind the American public that the First Amendment is arguably one of the most important in the Constitution. It is the first amendment for a reason. Americans should cherish the fact that they are able to speak their minds freely and hold the government accountable to the people. Attacking journalists and the free press will not make our country great again. In the age of Trump, holding the government accountable is more important than ever.
Though the President in the past has stated that he supports a free and open press, his statements and actions have demonstrated otherwise. As one of my colleagues has said: A person who does not support a free press does not support the ideals of a democracy. Without a free press, democracy cannot exist.