The Slatest

Fox News Declares Support for Jim Acosta and CNN in Lawsuit Against White House

Donald Trump and Jim Acosta arguing during a press conference
President Donald Trump gets into a heated exchange with CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta during a post-election press conference at the White House on Nov. 7.
JIM WATSON/Getty Images

A group of CNN’s competitors, including Fox News, joined together to support CNN and Jim Acosta in their lawsuit against the White House seeking to regain Acosta’s press access there.

Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement that while the network doesn’t “condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press,” it does, however, “support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.” Wallace also said Fox would file a brief in support of CNN’s suit in federal court in Washington.

Despite rumblings that some of Acosta’s fellow reporters did not particularly like or appreciate his confrontational made-for-TV approach to dealing with the president during press conferences and media availabilities, a broad swath of media organizations have stood behind Acosta and CNN to oppose the nearly unprecedented revoking of access based plainly on the fact that the White House didn’t like a reporter.

The White House, meanwhile, argued in a brief that its sanctions for Acosta were “viewpoint- and content-neutral” and “are evident from the video of the November 7 press conference.” The White House had initially claimed that it had banned Acosta because he had placed “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”

When this explanation was almost universally rejected (despite an altered video shared by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders), the White House said in a subsequent statement Tuesday that Acosta “inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters” and had “physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions.”

While Trump’s base of support has continued to be riled up in anger against CNN, the media has not taken the bait. Everyone from the news-wire services to the owner of the Intercept signed on to a joint statement in support of CNN, saying, “Our news organizations support the fundamental constitutional right to question this President, or any president.”