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Reporters condemn White House decision to bar CNN's Acosta

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

Reporters from many news organizations have expressed support for CNN's Jim Acosta after the White House revoked his press pass.

The "hard pass," which speeds up entry to the White House grounds, was suspended by the Trump administration on Wednesday night "until further notice." Why? Because of Acosta's combative exchange with President Donald Trump at his post-midterms press conference.
It is unclear whether Acosta will be turned away again on Thursday. It also remains to be seen whether White House reporters will walk out, or show solidarity with Acosta and CNN in other ways.

Acosta is CNN's chief White House correspondent. He was trying to reenter the White House grounds for a live shot on "Anderson Cooper 360" when he was stopped by Secret Service officers. Within minutes, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had announced the suspension.
"This is a test for all of us," Acosta told Cooper later. "I do think they are trying to shut us down, to some extent, inside the White House press corps." Acosta said he thought the suspension was also an attempt to "send a message to our colleagues."
CNN and several major journalism advocacy groups denounced the White House's move. The Radio Television Digital News Association, which represents newsrooms across the country, called the revocation "unconscionable."

Reporters and historians said it was hard to recall a similar episode.

"White House staff don't pull passes over personal pique, only over threats to the president," professor Martha Joynt Kumar, director of the White House Transition Project, told CNN.

No one is suggesting that Acosta threatened President Donald Trump. But right-wing websites and pro-Trump commentators alleged that Acosta mistreated a White House intern who tried to take a microphone away from him during the press conference.

Trump's boosters used words like "pushed" and "slammed." They screamed "assault" and "abuse." Sanders cited this alleged "inappropriate behavior" to suspend Acosta's pass. But all of this is contradicted by the video, which shows Acosta holding onto the mic and saying "pardon me, ma'am," when the intern tries to take it away.

"I was seated next to ⁦Acosta⁩ at today's press conference and did not witness him 'placing his hands' on the young intern, as the White House alleges," Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason wrote on Twitter. "He held on to the microphone as she reached for it."
After asking a follow up question, Acosta let go of the mic.

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Story first appeared in CNN on the 8th Nov, 2018

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Article posted on 09/11/2018

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