Twitter rallies behind the journalist facing an outrageous attack from Trump

Jim Acosta speaking at a campaign rally
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Twitter has responded angrily after CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta had his press credentials revoked. He had been trying to ask Donald Trump about the ‘caravan‘ of refugees currently fleeing toward the US from Central America. But Trump reacted aggressively, and a White House aide attempted to grab the microphone from him. And since then, it’s all spiralled out of control.

“That’s enough”

During a press conference, Acosta asked Trump about the language he has used to describe refugees. But Trump immediately began to talk over him, saying:

That’s enough, put down the mic

Acosta refused (politely) to surrender the microphone to the “grabby Trump aide”:

Trump then called him a “rude, terrible person”, and said he “shouldn’t be working for CNN“.

The reporter later found himself prevented from entering the White House by secret service agents:

‘Lies’

Following the incident, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders put out a statement on Twitter. She claimed Acosta had been banned for “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern”. But as footage of the incident showed, this is not what happened. And Acosta responded swiftly and bluntly to this very poisonous accusation:

Other Twitter users were also quick to point out the holes in the White House version of events:

As one Twitter user eloquently put it:

Rank hypocrisy

Even if Acosta had ‘placed his hands’ on the young woman, several Twitter users were quick to highlight the hypocrisy of the Trump administration taking the moral high ground on this issue:

And lest we forget (we weren’t going to forget), Trump has quite a record when it comes to ‘placing hands’ on women:

New depths

Perhaps because the footage of the incident clearly shows Acosta did not place hands on the woman, the White House press machine went on the offensive, releasing a different version of the footage. Once again, though, Twitter users – many of whom apparently have eyes and ears – were quick to contradict the ‘official’ take on the story:

One experienced video editor tweeted a breakdown of the changes made to the footage:

But the lengths the Trump administration will go to smearing reporters asking questions it doesn’t like is extremely sinister. What’s worse, it appears that Sanders called in the far-right conspiracy theorist cavalry to help in this crusade. The Independent noted:

Ms Sanders’ tweet came exactly two hours after the same video was shared by Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large of InfoWars, a far-right conspiracy theory website fronted by Trump-supporter Alex Jones.

Patterns of behaviour

It’s not news that Trump will go to great lengths to avoid difficult questions from journalists. Because in the same press conference, Trump accused reporter Yamiche Alcindor of asking a ‘racist‘ question when she asked him about his decision to call himself a “nationalist”:

And he told American Urban Radio Networks‘ April Ryan repeatedly to “sit down” – ironically as she was asking questions about voter suppression. He’s also made noise about reviewing NBC‘s licence, accusing it of spreading “fake news”.

Official support

On the plus side, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists swiftly put out its backing for Acosta:

And the White House Correspondents’ Association put out an angry statement on the unacceptable use of the US secret service to silence journalists for asking tricky questions:

As The Canary knows all too well, the backing of unions and press associations can be a vital, make-or-break element in keeping a media that is free, fair, and able to speak out.

Rotten to the core

Sanders can insist that Trump “believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration” until she’s blue in the face. But pretty much anyone can clearly see the contempt with which he views journalists and reporters who disagree with him. He also can’t credibly say that he is concerned for the safety of women, or take any kind of moral high ground over men ‘placing hands’ on women. And that makes it even more sickening that a woman – Sanders – continues to stand up for him.

Journalists in the US are currently fighting the rising tide of fake news, misinformation, and propaganda – most of which comes from Trump supporters. And the attack on Acosta is just one more incident in a long line of cynical, self-serving publicity stunts from a presidency that is rotten to its core.

Thankfully, Americans aren’t falling for Trump’s propaganda machine.

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Featured image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore

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