CNN reporter Jim Acosta: “That is just an appalling suggestion to come from the president of the United States."
Crossing a dangerous new line in his endless war on the media, Donald Trump on Thursday morning demanded that members of Congress investigate journalists who produce reports that Trump doesn’t like. He seemed especially upset by reporting on the Russia interference scandal.
At Thursday’s White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders reiterated the attack theme: “We need a to move towards more fair, more accurate and frankly a more responsible news media for the American people.”
Soon after on CNN, White House correspondent Jim Acosta emphasized to host Brooke Baldwin just how dangerous and unprecedented it is for the leader of the free world to be actively urging that the U.S. press be undermined and intimidated by members of Congress.
“That is just an appalling suggestion to come from the president of the United States,” Acosta stressed.
ACOSTA: We should just make it very clear, if Congress were to start investigating news outlets Brooke, we are then something less than the United States of America. That is just an appalling suggestion to come from the president of the United States. And Sarah was saying, well, reporters shouldn’t engage in opinions and so on. That, I guess, in her mind amounts to some sort of fake news. But I don’t think it’s really an outlandish opinion to say Congress should not be investigating news outlets, not in this country.
According to the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." Specifically, freedom of the press means the government cannot censor the news media; it cannot control or block what gets covered in the news.
An extension of the freedom for centuries in America has been that journalists are not answerable to elected officials. They’re answerable to the public. And journalists aren’t actively investigated by the federal government simply because the White House occupant doesn’t like the content.
Keep in mind, Trump wasn’t calling for investigations into specific journalists who might be involved in sensitive national security leak stories. He was calling for investigations into any journalist who reported on the Russia controversy and did so in a way that Trump found displeasing.
And at the press briefing, the White House largely supported that radical premise.
From MSNBC’s Joy Reid:
I think @SHSanders45 just said the standard for accurate journalism is giving the Trump administration positive coverage... did I hear that?
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) October 5, 2017
She certainly heard it right.