Recently, President Trump once again came under fire for his treatment of the press. During a press conference where over 150 journalists were present, CNN's senior journalist Jim Acosta was removed by a Secret Service officer and banned from the White House with a "hard pass."
Trump reports that Acosta had been infringing on other reporters' chance to ask questions. When an intern attempted to remove the microphone from Acosta, he allegedly put his hands on her. This, Trump has explained, is the reason he had the senior correspondent removed and banned.
Although there is a video circulating the internet, its authenticity is currently in question.
CNN has now filed a lawsuit against Trump, the Secret Service officer and a few White House senior aides. This lawsuit accuses the White House of violating both CNN's and Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights to free speech and due process. Their goal is to have Acosta's pass reinstated and to make sure future journalist's rights aren't violated.
It didn't take long for the general public to split in two on this matter. Conservatives maintain that Acosta was out of line and the president was within his rights to remove a disruption, press or not. Liberals argue that Trump is still pursuing fake news and has stepped on the First Amendment.
Personally, I think both are correct—to an extent.
In a room of over 150 reporters trying to speak to the president, there's a certain amount of time each journalist should be afforded. As a reporter, I understand how competitive the field is, but I also understand the unspoken rules. If you want to be respected in this industry, you have to give others the same regard. If you don't want to be trampled over later, you can't steamroll your peers now.
If Acosta was indeed taking up too much time and steamrolling the rest of the room, then the president was well within his rights to move on to the next reporter to give them the chance to do their job.
With that said, it wasn't appropriate to strip Acosta of his credentials to report at the White House. Acosta could be the most obnoxious journalist in the history of journalism, but he is still protected under the First Amendment. Personal feelings for or against him don't change that fact.
This may seem like another in a long line of frivolous lawsuits, but we can learn a great deal from it nonetheless. We can have all the opinions we want on a matter, but without objectivity, we have nothing. If we are going to champion the First Amendment, then we need to stick by it in all cases, not just the ones we like.