Acosta’s Press Credentials Restored

A US judge temporarily restored White House press credentials to CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, which were revoked following a contentious press conference with President Donald Trump.

Background

On 8 November, US President Donald Trump held his first press conference since the midterms elections. Trump dodged questions in the press conference regarding his role in contributing to the rise of white nationalism in the US, at one point accusing a journalist who asked him about the topic of racism.

When asked by CNN's Jim Acosta whether he had demonised immigrants with a controversial campaign advert describing Latin American migrants as invaders, Trump called the reporter "rude" and ordered an aide to physically remove the mic from the journalist. Acosta did not give up his mic, and later had his white house press credentials revoked by a secret service agent for failing to comply. 

Analysis

On 16 November, a US judge temporarily restored White House press credentials to CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, which were revoked following a contentious press conference with President Donald Trump.

US District Judge Timothy Kelly, who is hearing CNN's lawsuit challenging the revocation, ordered the White House to restore Acosta's press pass while the case is pending.

He said there should be a due process in place for limiting a journalist's access to the White House. Kelly did not address the First Amendment's protections for freedom of speech and the press, but instead focused on due process provisions of the Constitution that provide for fair treatment through a judicial process.

Following the ruling, the White House said it would comply with the court order, and will "also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future". 

Assessment

Our assessment is that a full resolution is likely to emerge in the coming days. We believe that this will come in the form of a verdict from the court as well as legislation from the white house. We feel that the restoration of Acosta’s press credentials is good news for anyone in support of a free, strong and independent American press.