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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

The right to write


The freedom of the press will protect Jim Acosta

Though the media is supposed to be an impartial source of unbiased information, it is no secret that almost every outlet has taken a political stance.

Media bias is nothing new, and neither is President Donald Trump’s showdown with the media. As CNN points out, “Past examples are The New York Times v. U.S., the famous Supreme Court case involving the Pentagon Papers in 1971, and CNN’s 1981 case against the White House and the broadcast networks, when CNN sued to be included in the White House press pool.”

Although Trump is not quite Nixon after the Pentagon Papers scandal, his efforts to barr left-leaning CNN journalist Jim Acosta from the White House shows a somewhat similar parallel.

The same goes for CNN’s lawsuit  filed against the White House in response to these events, which, as of Nov. 6, CNN has won.

A video of Jim Acosta sharing an ill-natured conversation with Trump was posted by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Nov. 7. Acosta pressed Trump on questions dealing with the Central American migrant “caravan” and the Russia investigation. Notably, two very touchy subjects for the Trump administration.

To these questions, Trump replied “honestly, I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.” Then, when Acosta relinquished the microphone, Trump turned to him and deemed him a “rude, terrible person.”

In response to the event, the White House revoked Acosta of his credentials, the New York Times reporting that the White House was effectively “denying him access to the White House and the president’s staff.”

And now, there is a doctored video circulating in social media that pins Acosta as being physical with an intern who attempted to take the microphone from him.

As always, when the executive power and the press clash, we are reminded about how important and vital the freedom of publication is. Now more than ever, the press must prevail, as it should in any case. No matter the party of the president or the political spectrum swing of the media outlet, the media has the right to report.

The Washington Post works under the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” and I think they say it best; the press has the constitutional right and democratic duty to inform the public.

Though the press has the responsibility to produce reliable and impartial content, it remains up to the reader to discern whether or not to pardon any potential bias.

If the people don’t like the source, then they don’t have to read it. The same goes for the president, as he is certainly not obligated to agree with what the media publishes. However, let’s not forget that it is the duty of the executive branch to uphold freedom of the press, regardless of political bias. Trump doesn’t have to approve of Acosta’s work, but he must act in a mature manner when met with criticism and still protect CNN’s right to publish.

Though I write for the opinions section, there is no way my argument can get to the public without some serious fact-checking and research. And that is for a college newspaper. So imagine the amount of checking that goes into a national news outlet.

By no means does CNN agree with all of  Trump’s positions, but their points are credible and informed, and thus have the right to be circulated. In the video of the debacle, Acosta remained calm and did not fire back insults at the president. Acosta was doing his job.

The purpose of the media is to inform. Editorial or not, informed and true information is allowed to be published, and the press has the right to do so. With the White House revoking Acosta’s credentials, the White House takes a jab at one of the most fundamental pieces of our democracy.

The press has the right to publish, and no person, Democrat or Republican, has the right to take that freedom away.

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