Ruling In CNN Lawsuit Over Acosta Ban Expected Today

The judge presiding over the CNN lawsuit regarding Jim Acosta’s White House press access said that he will issue a ruling this afternoon. CNN filed suit on Tuesday and the first hearing in the case was held yesterday. CNN is asking for a temporary restraining order that would force the government to return Mr. Acosta’s White House access.

CNN’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous, said that the “judge was very, very, focused on the key issues of the case.”

In the two-hour hearing, Judge Timothy of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, a Trump appointee, probed CNN’s claim that Acosta’s ban was viewpoint discrimination rather than an action based on the reporter’s conduct. Boutrous cited the Trump Administration’s attack on CNN for “liberal bias” in a fundraising email sent after the revocation.

Boutrous also told the judge that the Trump Administration’s claim that Acosta put his hands on the White House intern who tried to grab his microphone was “absolutely false,” noting that the 28-page brief filed by the Justice Department does not allege that Acosta touched the aide.

James Burnham, the attorney representing the Justice Department, said that the White House didn’t need a reason to ban Acosta “because there’s no First Amendment protection and the President has broad discretion.”

Burnham attacked CNN’s First Amendment claim, saying, “A single journalist’s attempt to monopolize a press conference is not a viewpoint and revoking a hard pass in response to that is not viewpoint discrimination.”

At issue is whether the White House had valid cause to revoke Acosta’s press access. There is legal precedent from the 1977 case Sherrill v. Knight that “such refusal [for press access] must be based on a compelling governmental interest.” Judge Kelly must decide whether Acosta’s disruptive actions at last week’s press conference were sufficient to give the White House a valid reason for revoking his access. President Trump’s longstanding feud with CNN and Acosta give the news outlet ammunition to claim that the ban was directed at CNN because of their unfriendly coverage of the Trump Administration.

Numerous news organizations such as Fox News and the USA Today Network have filed briefs supporting CNN’s petition. “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,” said Jay Wallace, president of Fox News. “While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the president and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

The ruling is expected at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time today.

Combating Fake News: 4 Strategies to Separate Fact from Fiction

AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE FOR NAVIGATING THE POST-TRUTH ERA

This fake-media toolkit was originally published by Stand Up Republic, and has been reprinted by permission. 

The digital revolution has fundamentally changed the way we produce and consume news. Technology has brought about unmistakable progress on many fronts, but it has also introduced new opportunities for exploitation and attack.

It’s fair to say that disinformation has long challenged our ability to discern truth in media. But the 2016 presidential election exposed to the public a new strain of the virus, and it’s one that requires increased vigilance to remedy.

Today’s abundance of “news” invites us to indulge our inherent prejudices on demand, even when facts disprove our feelings. Anonymous social media profiles (including bots) enable the wildest ideas to spread across information networks, even appearing on the @POTUS account at times.

Fake news stories are sometimes funny. They are often benign. But they can also have serious and terrible consequences.

As our society adapts to this new landscape — one the President aggravates by labeling any media that challenges him as “the enemy” or “fake news” — foreign adversaries look to spread their own propaganda. Their disinformation campaigns exploit our free and open media, sowing chaos and eroding democracy in the process.

When consuming media from any source, and in particular online, one must navigate our digital world carefully. Know what to look for, and help your family and friends avoid spreading misinformation too.

Here are four strategies to help you identify fake news.

1. EXAMINE THE SOURCE

First, look at the URL: have you ever heard of breakingnews365.net before? If you haven’t, be wary of the site’s contents.

The Internet’s open and accessible nature means virtually anyone can publish an official-looking website. Someone with basic web skills can have a site up and running in a matter of minutes, with almost no cost.

The producers of fake news have political and financial motives. During the 2016 presidential race, for example, the Denver Guardian — an entirely fake news site — generated between $10,000 and $30,000 a month in ad revenue.

Of course, sites that mix real journalism with distorted (or blatantly false) information blur the line between fact and fiction. Here’s a list of the worst offenders.

2. CHECK YOUR SHOCK LEVEL

Did the article you just read shock you because it’s inconsistent with known facts? Did it seem designed to play on your emotions? If a claim or story seems outrageous, don’t take it at face value. It’s possibly twisted to confirm your worst fears and suspicions, or simply made up altogether.

Why do so many people fall for this trap? Because fake news purveyors — including advertisers — seek clicks and shares of their content, and they know appealing to raw emotion elicits a greater response in our brains.

Bottom line: take a moment to analyze what you just read and ask yourself if it seems too “out there” to be true. If the answer is yes, proceed with caution before internalizing, clicking or sharing.

3. CONSULT GOOGLE (or maybe Bing?)

When something happens, news organizations race to publish. Every bureau chief wants to be the first to post or to secure the next exclusive. So when important national events happen, multiple sources cover it.

Different outlets may, of course, offer their particular analysis of an issue. But at the end of the day, the root facts of an issue — its essential truth — will shine through.

As a rule of thumb, check to see if other outlets are talking about a given subject. If at least three different, well-known publications have reported on the same topic, there’s a good chance its core facts are legitimate.

Example: Fox News, MSNBC and the New York Times each published an article about President Trump and Steve Bannon around August 15, 2017. While each source frames the story differently, it’s probably safe to conclude that this is real news.

4. COMPENSATE FOR MEDIA BIAS

It’s true — media outlets on both sides of the aisle present the news with bias. But, as with Tip #3, we can overcome this by challenging opposing viewpoints.

Where do you gather your news, generally speaking? If it’s largely through TV, consider reading a newspaper. If you typically read Fox News articles online, consider watching CNN.

Too often, we choose to ignore ideas that compete with our preconceived notions. By varying our sources and consuming those with which we disagree, we are more likely to get to the truth than if we only participate in the partisan echo chamber that too often reaffirms false narratives.

 

This link should be bookmarked for future reference!

Sheila Jackson Lee’s Storm of Confusion

Prior to the torrential rains that arrived with Hurricane Harvey last Friday, Houston’s biggest natural disaster has usually been Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democrat member of Congress whose district cuts its own indelible swath through the middle of the city.  A prime example of the kind of politician who should never be allowed to speak unscripted, Jackson has in the past perfected the art of the gaffe–such as the time she asked  JPL scientists if the Mars Rover could snap a picture of the flag placed there by American astronauts, or when she declared to her fellow congressmen on the House floor  that the Constitution is 400 years old.

Never one to rest on her laurels, however, Jackson Lee topped herself on CNN the other day while giving an interview from a Houston storm shelter.  Host Alysin Camerota, evidently trying to give traction to the nonsense that Senator Ted Cruz heartlessly refused to approve aid for the victims of Superstorm Sandy back in 2012, asked Jackson Lee about her own votes on that pork-laden bill, and to contrast them with her current requests for federal dollars to aid relief efforts in her home state.  It all started off well enough, but quickly went downhill from there:

Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. . .referred to the storm as “Sandy Hook” several different times, even after hosts corrected her.

Lee called the storm Sandy Hook —the name of a Connecticut elementary school where 20 children and six teachers were killed in 2012—at least four times, prompting corrections from the hosts of CNN’s “New Day.” Lee was in a Houston shelter for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, when Alisyn Camerota asked about her votes on Hurricane Sandy relief, and Lee said she did help “Sandy Hook victims.”

“As I said, I voted on legislation to help the Sandy Hook victims,” Lee replied to Camerota’s question.

“Superstorm Sandy,” Camerota interjected.

“Sandy super storm,” Lee immediately said, before making the same mistake seconds later.

Actually, to me it sounded more like she said, “Sandy Superstrong.”  But you get the idea.

Saving the best for last, though, Jackson Lee had some nice things to say about a certain New Jersey governor who urged the Congressional delegation from his state to swiftly approve disaster funding for Texas:

Later, she was asked about Gov. Chris Christie (R., N.J.) urging House members to fund Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, and Lee called him “Crispy.”

“We thank Governor Crispy,” Lee said.

Given Christie’s penchant for fried chicken, though, this may have been less of a gaffe and more of a Freudian slip.

But hey, at least she got the name of Hurricane Harvey right–which is no small victory, considering Jackson Lee’s tirade against the “lily white” naming conventions NOAA uses for tropical storms.  With that kind of intellect at work for us in Congress, we can all rest assured that they’re taking care of business.

Huh? Wolf Blitzer Calls Barcelona Attack a Charlottesville Copycat




Wolf Blitzer should have had an extra cup of coffee before he went on the air Thursday, because he made one of the weirdest, nonsensical statements in a long time.

Blitzer was speaking with CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto about the terrorist attack in Barcelona, and he tried to make a bizarre connection between the attack and Charlottesville, simply because cars were involved in both killings.

SCIUTTO: The final point I would make, Wolf, is just this, in light of the uproar of the last couple of days, five days apart you have a white supremacist in Charlottesville using a vehicle to kill, and here you have attackers at least following the modus operandi of terrorists using vehicles apparently to kill, as well. The shared tactics should be alarming.

BLITZER: Yeah, there will be questions about copycats. There will be questions if what happened in Barcelona was at all a copycat version of what happened in Charlottesville. Virginia. Even though they may be different characters [with] different political ambitions. They used the same killing device, a vehicle going at high speed into a large group of pedestrians.

Here’s the exchange on video:



I’m not trying to be funny here, but I thought Wolf Blitzer was more intelligent that this. Sciutto mentions that both incidents involve the same method of killing, but Blitzer was the one who made the leap outside of reason.

Islamic terrorists have used vehicles as weapons for years, driving into crowds time and time again to inflict as much damage as possible. If anything, the Charlottesville attack was a copycat of Islamic terrorism, rather than the other way around – but I’m not even going to go so far as to claim that theory.

The Barcelona driver and Charlottesville killer James Alex Fields had only two things in common: unhinged, abject hatred and a working vehicle. To try to tie any other threads together – simply because of timing – and call them copycat incidents stretches logic just a bit too far. Wolf Blitzer is a far better news anchor than this, and he certainly has more sense most of the time.

I Am Really Ashamed of CNN For This




“CNN is amplifying and giving exposure to what amounts to a leftwing assassin’s hit list.”

I have a great deal of affection for CNN. I enjoyed my time there and think very highly of a great many people who still work there. They are good people and mindful that many journalists do lean left by virtue of experience, education, and upbringing, so most often they work hard to compensate for any personal biases their reporters might have. Chris Cuomo is such an egregious example of a leftwing hack inappropriately given the veneer of objectivity because he stands out as one of the few who makes no effort at actually being fair.1

Most everyone else at the network tries hard and CNN has earned a good international reputation because of it. But this is a bridge too far and terribly shameful of the network to do. CNN is running a propaganda piece from the Southern Poverty Law Center as a legitimate news story.



The SPLC routinely labels conservative groups with which is has disagreements as “hate groups.” Twice now, leftwing murderers who were fans of the SPLC have tried to assassinate conservatives. Floyd Lee Corkins admitted to coming up with the idea to assassinate the staff of the Family Research Council after seeing them on the SPLC’s website. James Hodgkinson had liked the SPLC on his Facebook page before his mass assassination attempt of Republican members of Congress.

The SPLC has shown neither remorse nor a willingness to reconsider what it does after those incidents and now CNN is amplifying and giving exposure to what amounts to a leftwing assassin’s hit list.

There are legitimate groups on the SPLC’s list, which makes it so much more noxious. The SPLC lumps in legitimate Christian organizations that do good with real hate groups. They view the KKK and the Alliance Defending Freedom as hate groups. The Alliance Defending Freedom is an organization that coordinates volunteer Christian attorneys helping Christians in need. The SPLC labels them a hate group because the ADF has helped Christian florists, bakers, and others who the state has tried to compel to provide goods and services to same sex weddings.

It would be akin to the SPLC labeling the ACLU a hate group for defending the rights of white supremacists to march in the streets, which the ACLU has done.

Notice how CNN gives the SPLC the veneer of credibility:

Some critics of the SPLC say the group’s activism biases how it categorizes certain groups.

But since the FBI doesn’t keep track of domestic hate groups, the SPLC’s tally is the widely accepted one. [Emphasis added]

“Some critics,” CNN says. Who would those critics be? They’d be members of Congress, respected academics, and theologians who all note SPLC has become a leftwing activist organization over the years. And “widely accepted” by whom? Not the FBI. Not law enforcement groups. Just CNN and liberal reporters.

CNN should be ashamed of this and if a third leftwing activist goes off to assassinate those the SPCL labels hate groups, someone will need to ask how much blood should be on CNN’s hands. This is not a hypothetical. Floyd Lee Corkins sits in prison.


1. Funniest story I have ever heard about Chris Cuomo came from Roger Ailes, who had a decidedly low opinion of Cuomo’s efforts to mask his partisanship. One more than one occasion with me, Roger used Cuomo and Rachel Maddow as examples of how to do partisanship badly in Cuomo’s case and brilliantly in Maddow’s case.

Jim Acosta: Living in a Movie




Although most people would be ashamed to admit such a thing, I majored in journalism back in college.  Now before you recoil in horror, understand that times were different then.  Ronald Reagan was still president, and while I still didn’t fully understand the problem of bias in reporting, news editors were at least concerned about the appearance of objectivity and there were still enough of the old-timers left who actually knew the difference between being a reporter and being a pundit.

Because I wanted to be a network news correspondent, one of my favorite films of the time was, naturally, Broadcast News.  Writer-director James L. Brooks spent a couple of years actually working in a newsroom to get the feel for the characters there, and crafted a brilliant screenplay that framed the story around a love triangle between Jane, a high-strung producer;  Tom, a handsome but clueless anchorman;  and Aaron, a shoe-leather reporter who is warching the business he loves so much changing into shallow, ratings-driven infotainment.

Back then, you see, the biggest ethical issue in television news was sacrificing the hard-edged, important stuff for the kind of fluff that drew in more viewers.  There was also the problem of the star system, in which pretty faces who couldn’t even write were being presented to the public as actual journalists.  And finally, there was the emergence of the news personality, who was at least as important–if not more so–as the stories they were reporting.  Aaron neatly summarizes the problem in an epic rant, saying, “Let’s never forget, we’re the real story, not them!”



I’m guessing that Jim Acosta has never seen Broadcast News.

If the CNN reporter had, he might have thought twice about making an ass of himself (again) the other day after President Trump gave a statement about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia:

As that announcement ended, Acosta asked Trump if reporters could ask him questions about his remarks on Charlottesville.

“It doesn’t bother me at all, but I like real news, not fake news,” Trump said, pointing at Acosta. “You’re fake news.”

To which Acosta responded with a zinger that got him so excited, he couldn’t wait to post it to Twitter:

Two things here:  First, Acosta is showing a degree of professionalism more commonly associated with time-share rental hucksters.  Yes, I understand that there’s a feud between Trump and CNN–but as a reporter, Acosta isn’t supposed to care about that.  His job is to gather facts so that his network can disseminate them to its viewers.  Acosta, however, seems far more interested in calling attention to himself because in his mind, he’s the story–not Donald Trump.

Second, Acosta’s shtick here isn’t even original. With that “sir” business, he sounds like he’s trying to ape Dan Rather that time he dissed Richard Nixon back in 1974.  Considering what happened to Rather’s career after Memogate, perhaps Acosta should consider a more credible role model.  Like Carrot Top.

Then pop some corn and watch Broadcast News.  He might learn a thing or two.

There’s Gotta Be More To This




Jeffrey Lord was being attacked, yet again, by a Media Matters fascist and replied “Sieg Heil!”. CNN claims that is why it cut ties with him. That’s a pretty lame reason and I have to believe there is more to it than that one tweet.

In the context of what was happening, Lord’s response to the fascists at Media Matters was rather innocuous. The Media Matters folks are a bunch of militant fascists demanding censorship or conformity. They routinely bully anyone who dares to wrongthink. Lord had just written a piece at the American Spectator on Media Matters’ latest fascistic crusade to shutdown Sean Hannity.

The entire context of the tweet that got him fired forces me to think there is either more to the firing than is being said publicly or CNN really did cave to Media Matters. I mean, having been routinely harassed at CNN for three years by Media Matters, I know internally what the network thinks of Media Matters and just cannot imagine them caving to a group like that.

With Lord’s contract up at the end of the year and supposedly there being no plans to renew it, perhaps this was just the excuse needed for CNN to part ways early. If so, it is pretty lame and will just embolden the censorious fascists of the left.

Vincente Fox Keepin’ CNN F-ing Classy




This morning on CNN, former Mexican president Vincente Fox used his favorite word to describe President Trump’s border wall.

“You can use my words. We will never pay for that f***ing wall,” Fox said. “Why should Mexico pay for the wall. What is the reason? We don’t need a wall.”

Heh.

Alisyn Camerota cracked an awkward smile, apologized to viewers, and moved on.

“I apologize to our morning audience for the salty language this morning. Perhaps I should have taken that offer for the five-second delay,” she said.

Ya think?



It’s not like Mr. Fox has never used that word on live television before. The man can’t say “wall” without saying “F**king” before it.

Note to producers: if Vincente Fox is going on a live show, use the five-second (in fact, make it seven seconds) delay. Nobody keeps it F-in classy like Mr. Fox.