The Trump White House is apparently quite threatened by journalists who are simply doing their jobs. Imagine that.
For the Trump administration, no news is good news, because almost any news is “fake news.”
And the stubborn, panicked fear of journalists doing their jobs is pushing this White House to extremely undemocratic ends.
During a contentious press briefing Monday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders grew visibly and vocally aggravated with CNN’s Jim Acosta, when he tried to defend his fellow journalists who have made occasional mistakes in their reporting.
In Donald Trump’s authoritarian view, they all deserve to be fired. And Sanders sees nothing wrong with that.
“There’s a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposefully misleading the American people,” she snapped, demanding that journalists “own up” to their errors.
Acosta shot back that they do, and then tried to ask Sanders about the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. Sanders repeatedly rebuffed and ignored his questions.
But that wasn’t the end of her despotic outbursts.
During a pool spray Tuesday morning, Acosta attempted to ask Trump about the disgusting, innuendo-laden tweet he sent attacking Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Trump, typically, ignored Acosta.
President Trump ignores question from @Acosta on what the president meant when he tweeted that Sen. Gillibrand would do anything for a campaign contribution.
— Allie Malloy (@AlliemalCNN) December 12, 2017
And Sanders dutifully followed in her boss’s footsteps — but Acosta was not having it:
Prior to this morment, @presssec issued a warning to me. She said if I asked a question of Trump at the bill signing "I can't promise you will be allowed into a pool spray again." Sorry Sarah.. we won't be intimidated. https://t.co/RZgJpXpyEg
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 12, 2017
Sanders ought to have known that a few snide words wouldn’t be enough to cow someone like Acosta, who has been a staunch thorn in the side of the Trump administration’s attacks on the First Amendment.
Acosta is also not reticent about calling Trump’s crass behavior in general, and shaming him for his repugnant insults against “nearly every minority or religious group that you can possibly offend here in the United States.”
NBC News White House correspondent Hallie Jackson immediately spoke up for her colleague:
.@Acosta was at the bill signing as part of the rotating pool that reps all 5 tv networks. And to be clear: this is not how the pool works. @POTUS doesn’t have to answer questions – but we can sure ask them. https://t.co/NmvLNlZn7Z
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) December 12, 2017
This indeed is not how this is supposed to work, under normal circumstances.
But the Trump era is anything but normal.
When you have someone in the Oval Office who thinks it is perfectly acceptable to demand the firing of any journalist who makes even a minor and innocent mistake, one they immediately account for and correct, it is crystal clear that the administration does not think the norms and traditions apply to them.
But that won’t stop journalists from calling them out for it, as often and as loudly as necessary.