Accosting America

By Craige McMillan

A federal judge (we’ll get to that soon enough) determined that Jim Acosta of CNN has a right – at least temporarily – to behave badly while exercising his First Amendment right to gather and report the news.

While it is true that Acosta did at one time report the news, those days seem to be long over. It’s even true that CNN at one time in its past also reported the news. They had reporters in most parts of the world and usually had the story – whatever and wherever it was – first.

Since the arrival of the World Wide Web of deceit and disinformation, CNN has moved from reporting the news to framing the news. Now, their unattributed claim to fame is, “First to tell you what to what to think about the news that’s actually reported elsewhere.”

Mr. Acosta, it seems, is sort of a newsroom efficiency guru during his working hours. He jumps into the situation personally, creates a controversy, and thereby creates news. Once he has made the news, he then tells his viewers what to think about it. Very innovative, really. But quite useless when it comes to informing the public about what matters.

OK, back to Judge Timothy Kelly and our newly invented right to attend our very own Sarah Sanders press briefing. CNN, of course, was unaffected by Acosta’s press briefing ban. A Bloomberg report indicates CNN has nearly 50 credentialed people who could attend a White House briefing. CNN could have sent someone else. If they had looked hard, they might even have found someone who remembered reporting the news, rather than manufacturing it, and sent that person. But no: Reporting the news is so Ted Turnerish.

Despite their roots, CNN and the rest of its supposed competitors no longer have any interest in reporting the news. Only one outlet can be first to find and report news, but everyone on every network can pile on, telling their perpetually inflamed audience exactly what to think about that news. It’s just so much easier and cost-effective to generate the news and then explain what the rest of us should think about it. And if we don’t agree, well, they’ll report it over and over until we do. Goebbels on steroids: Modern American journalism.

Let’s look on the bright side, though: A federal judge has now determined that not just news-gathering organizations, but individual news gatherers have a constitutionally protected right to attend presidential press briefings and presumably other federal agency press briefings. Since the Constitution applies equally to all citizens, all of us have a right to attend these briefings, stir up controversy, then report what our listeners or readers ought to think about the controversy we created. And, when we are thrown out for bad behavior, we have a right to be reinstated by a federal judge. It should be fun to see how this goes over at city council meetings, county governing bodies, governors’ press conferences and even when Herr Mueller appears as the Great Oz behind the curtain at a Department of Justice press conference, to announce an extension until 2019 of his Russia hunt from 2016.

Yes, we’re all journalists now, even those of us committed simply to gathering the news for our lowly family holiday newsletters. Thank you, Judge Kelly! And let’s not forget our nation’s law schools, which have long ago “moved on” from teaching the Constitution to teaching law students how to amend it once they become barred.

Nor, in the spirit of fairness, can we forget all the pussy-hat wearing college administrators, who generations ago turned over governance of our nation’s colleges and universities to the as yet to be educated, skulls-full-of-mush students they had admitted to their vaunted institutions for an education. “Well, let’s just let them run the place until they get educated.” Kind of like leaving a victim with a newly discovered, soon to be fatal illness alone in the laboratory, in hopes that person will find a cure before he dies.

Absolution: The Singularity. Is this what ushers in Earth’s Final Kingdom?

Leave a Comment