Multiple news outlets, including Fox News, said they would endorse CNN’s legal effort to regain correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House credentials, a circling of the wagons among major media outlets the Trump administration continues to portray news organizations as “enemies of the people.”
ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media, Politico, E.W. Scripps, USA Today and The Washington Post also expressed support for CNN. Like Fox News, they said they would file amicus briefs in support of a CNN-launched lawsuit that had been announced Tuesday.
“Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential,” said Jay Wallace, president of Fox News, in a statement. ” Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.” ABC News said in a statement: “We stand with CNN in believing that Jim Acosta should have his White House pass reinstated. We hope this is resolved swiftly.”
CNN yesterday said the removal of Acosta’s access amounted to a “wrongful revocation of these credentials” and violated “CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process.”
Fox News and CNN would seem to come from opposite fields. Indeed, Fox News primetime hosts have taken pot-shots at CNN anchors like Chris Cuomo, while CNN President Jeff Zucker has likened Fox News Channel to “state-run TV” and “a pure propaganda machine” for some of its personalities’ on-screen fealty to President Trump. But the two have supported each other in the past when it comes to press access. In 2009, CNN supported Fox News’ right to take part in a White House event during the Obama administration. Earlier this year, Fox News anchor Bret Baier stood up when CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins was excluded by the Trump White House from an event taking place at the Rose Garden.
Some legal experts think CNN would likely prevail in court. “I think there’s very little to be lost by pursuing this,” said Douglas E. Mirell, a specialist in the First Amendment for Greenberg Glusker. “Indeed, in my view, this is a righteous lawsuit which deserves to be adjudicated in an appropriate way, unless the White House determines that the cost of doing so is outweighed by simply returning the hard pass to Mr. Acosta.”
In a brief filed Wednesday, the White House said President Trump has “broad discretion” to regulate journalists’ access.