President Donald Trump said his Administration is even now writing rules of press decorum. That comes after a judge ruled Friday (Nov. 16) that the White House must restore the press pass of CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta because it had taken it away without a process to make it clear under what circumstances a pass would be revoked.
The judge said the White House needed a process or standard for removing a pass, otherwise it violates the Fifth Amendment protection for due process. So, the ball was essentially back in the White House's court, which has chosen to thwack it at reporters once again, or at least those it feels are too pushy.
Commenting in an exclusive interview with Chris Wallace for Fox News Sunday, the President said of the court defeat: "[I]t’s not a big deal. What they said though is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct etc. etc. We’re doing that, were going to write them up right now. It’s not a big deal and if he misbehaves we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference."
Wallace asked what the rules would be. The President said "we're writing them now," but also gave some sense of what they would entail, which apparently includes on how long a reporter can keep asking questions.
"We’ll have rules of decorum...you know you can’t keep asking questions. We had a lot of reporters in that room, many, many reporters in that room and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts you know doing what he’s supposed to be doing for him and for CNN and you know just shouting out questions and making statements too.
"But I will say this: [L]ook, nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do and if I think somebody is acting out of sorts I will leave I will say thank you very much everybody I appreciate you coming and I’ll leave. And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that’s acting up."
Dan Shelley, executive director of the Radio-Television News Directors Association, said of the planned rules of decorum: "The office of the president of the United States should be respected by every American, even journalists. It should also be respected by the President, who should also respect the First Amendment. We are in Nixonian times on steroids. If the White House insists on decorum, then it has to lead by example and observe decorum itself."
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.