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I was surprised when U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly determined CNN's Jim Acosta should have his withdrawn White House press credentials restored after throwing one of the most unprofessional, disrespectful and arrogant hissy fits I've ever seen from any journalist, much less such childishness aimed at a president in our White House briefing room.

Of course, we have First Amendment rights to cover and report the news of the day. To me, First Amendment rights weren't at question here. The real question is: Do I have a right to be flagrantly juvenile and rude to any president during a press conference when he already has answered two of my questions as colleagues wait to ask theirs? And refuse to surrender the microphone as President Donald Trump directs him?

Acosta's employer, CNN, also never lost the option of assigning another more professional adult to cover these conferences, right?

This was a formal press conference called by the president who was prepared to answer questions from an assortment of journalists, not one know-it-all. You'd think his colleagues would have resented how the loud-mouthed Acosta so blatantly monopolized time also meant for their questions.

Over the years I've asked tough questions at press conferences across the nation without the need to be insolent or disrespectful to the person at the podium. So in one federal judge's opinion is it now acceptable for all White House reporters to behave in such a childish and offensive way at White House press conferences? Is Acosta's grossly partisan, attack-dog style the new norm? Civility and manners be damned?

With Acosta's White House credentials restored, the president can choose to eliminate press conferences, get rid of cameras in the room altogether, or ignore Acosta and his predictably self-aggrandizing outbursts. Trump is now developing rules for proper decorum at his future conferences, adding he will walk out if they aren't followed. Don't blame him. So would I.

Acosta's colleagues can thank his behavior for having those new stricter standards also imposed on them.

Beltway fairy tale

Heard about the candidate for Congress respected for her integrity and idealism? Once upon a time, she campaigned in her state against the entrenched swamp creatures of the beltway, pledging positive reforms in the corrupt system permeating our nation's capital.

Despite hefty campaign contributions from those seeking influence, the lady remained admirably intent on following her convictions and the majority sentiments of her constituents who were demanding reforms that create a method of governing honorably "of, by and for the people." In other words, to serve as a metaphorical drop of disinfecting bleach.

Elected to office on those beliefs and promises, she arrived on Capitol Hill to be greeted by a veteran gang from her political party. They took her aside over a $40 lunch and martinis to explain realities in the swamp.

The congresswoman wound up with her desired committee appointments, the support of her party and its agendas, along with the luncheon spiel recited to all new arrivals also elected in large measure because of personal appeal and promises back home.

Her "orientation" went something like this: "Now that we have given you what you desired, along with the opportunity to enrich yourself like those of us who've been here a while (incidentally, the longer you're here, the better you'll like it) we have a few expectations.

"Being the intelligent, fair-minded sort everyone here knows you to be, it's your turn to give us what we want in return, including the bloc votes we will need to benefit our party.

"That's only fair and reasonable, right? After all, this process isn't a one-way street serving only what you want, right? Our party has to stay united to preserve power together and resist above all else. Otherwise, we all will lose together, right?"

She recoiled at first, remembering those campaign pledges to put the people's needs first and her earnest desire to improve life for all citizens in the most responsible way, rather than voting to ensure her party could gain and retain power.

"After all," she thought, "don't I represent my constituents from every political party now that I've gained this position of trust? And what about my convictions and those vows I made to get elected?"

As promised, things eventually did become beneficial for her personally, from her influence on the Hill to gaining personal wealth from obliging lobbyists, as she rose in seniority while dutifully voting as instructed. Soon, other newcomer representatives filled with ideals arrived. And their indoctrination began.

Lo and behold, these arriving drops of purifying bleach as hers once had been were absorbed into the black tub of toxic beltway muck and absorbed by the goal of securing and holding political power.

As for the 330 million who depended upon those they elect to serve their overall best interests and those of the country? Well, their nation continued in constant division and gridlock as the overriding beat of "resistance and obstruction" drummed on. The end.

------------v------------

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at mmasterson@arkansasonline.com.

Editorial on 11/20/2018

Print Headline: Acosta's tantrum

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Comments

  • 23cal
    November 20, 2018 at 8:05 a.m.

    Regarding "one of the most unprofessional, disrespectful and arrogant hissy fits I've ever seen from any journalist". Mike must not have been watching press conferences or Fox News ever. None are so blind as those who refuse to see. Aggressive attempted follow-up questions are a norm.
    *
    Regarding "I was surprised when U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly determined CNN's Jim Acosta should have his withdrawn White House press credentials restored...." That surprise is based on bias and ignorance of established judicial precedent as shown in the case of Sherrill v. Knight, 1977. Any competent columnist would have read the judge's decision and would have known that.
    *
    Regarding "The real question is: Do I have a right to be flagrantly juvenile and rude....." Why hasn't Mike just one time weighed in on the flagrantly juvenile and rude antics of Trump nonstop over the last two years? Does his president have the right to be "flagrantly juvenile and rude"?
    *
    About "The real question is: Do I have a right to be flagrantly juvenile and rude to any president during a press conference when he already has answered two of my questions as colleagues wait to ask theirs? And refuse to surrender the microphone as President Donald Trump directs him?"
    Why, yes, Mike....yes, he does. At least, based on established judicial precedent, until rules are in place prohibiting that, he certainly has the right to do that without having his press pass arbitrarily removed. The law is clear. Read up on it and educate yourself for a change. On the other hand, Trump doesn't have the right to abrogate the First Amendment.
    *

  • 23cal
    November 20, 2018 at 8:06 a.m.

    About "You'd think his colleagues would have resented how the loud-mouthed Acosta so blatantly monopolized time also meant for their questions." Mike's concern for the resentment of his colleagues---many of whom certainly should have wanted to the answers to the questions being asked----rather pales in contrast to his lack of concern for the Americans who want answers to hard questions instead of softballs which are answered by lies and falsehoods. You know, like the lies and falsehoods and fraudulent video first given out by this administration as their excuse to take Acosta's press pass? Yeah, those. I'm surprised an enterprising journalist like yourself isn't taking great umbrage at the administration lying about what one of your colleagues did and purposely attempting to mislead the American citizenry through fraud and subterfuge.
    *
    About "Over the years I've asked tough questions at press conferences across the nation without the need to be insolent or disrespectful to the person at the podium." Did your president ever lie about you assaulting someone and put out doctored video to justify it? How would you have responded had it been you instead of a CNN representative? I'll bet you would have had a few words to say about that....unlike your silence now regarding it.
    *
    About "So in one federal judge's opinion is it now acceptable for all White House reporters to behave in such a childish and offensive way at White House press conferences?" It isn't just one judge's opinion, it is established legal precedent. By the way, the judge was appointed by Trump, on September 5, 2017, the United States Senate confirmed his nomination by a vote of 94–2. He is a member of the right wing Federalist Society and served as the Republican staff director for the Senate's Caucus on International Narcotics Control.
    *
    About "Is Acosta's grossly partisan, attack-dog style the new norm?" Let me fix that for you: "Is A̶c̶o̶s̶t̶a̶'̶s̶ MASTERSON'S grossly partisan, attack-dog style the new norm?" There. Fixed. You're welcome.

  • JakeTidmore
    November 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m.

    23cal delivers knockout. The argument was a reeling, drunken, sloppy mess to begin with and with judicial jabs based on sound reasoning and facts, Masterson crumbles to the mat.
    -
    Since when did tough questioning become "rudeness"? Easy....since we got a cry baby and whiner as president. Suddenly, all his sycophants go the same and become prissy little angels whose pharts don't stink.
    Pee-U! The rank stench of lies emanating from the WH is enough to knock a flock of buzzards off the latrine roof.
    --
    Masterson can't help mewling and whimpering when he defends Senor Grump.

  • Skeptic1
    November 20, 2018 at 8:16 a.m.

    Acosta won, now thanks to him there are a set of rules for the press corps going forward. These written rules were never needed before because the press behaved like their parents taught them, there is always that one jerk that spoils it for everyone. So now when Acosta shouts more than one question and refuses to sit down the press conference will be ended, the president won't have to say a word, his colleagues will take care of him.

  • condoleezza
    November 20, 2018 at 8:28 a.m.

    Another hypocritical pile of drivel from Masterson, who ignores the childish tantrums coming out of the White House on a daily basis. Why has Masterson never called the President out for his daily insults and alternative "facts"? Once again Trump has insulted another veteran and war hero, but it slips right by Masterson's oily fingers.

  • Delta2
    November 20, 2018 at 8:31 a.m.

    Substitute a Fox News reporter for Acosta, change the President to Democrat (and African American), and this article would have an entirely different theme. Ah, the old Masterson, fallen off the wagon again.

    You could almost feel the second half of the article was ready to take a major right hand turn at any moment, but somehow it didn't get specific. Maybe Masterson ran out of space before his bias could kick back in. Oh well, I guess we'll get 2, maybe 3 columns on pigs and water, FOIA, and what's going on in lower Missouri before his next Republican rant.

  • wolfman
    November 20, 2018 at 8:38 a.m.

    If trump would just answer the questions...and answer the questions truthfully the media wouldnt have a problem. It's the fact that TRUMP or anyone in his administration doesn't answer the questions asked..and they don't answer them truthfully EVER! Should the media and the american people be satisfied with the LIES, trump calls them alternative facts...that trump and his people tell NO. Trump and his people and supporters can't stand the truth and that is why they have an issue with CNN and all the other media besides fox. maybe IF trump would tell the truth rather telling lie and lie..back tracking the lies, etc the media wouldnt have to be so forceful in getting the truth out of trump. But of course trump tells so many lies he doesn't know what lies he previously told so it all snowballs and he whines whines whines..

  • hah406
    November 20, 2018 at 9:10 a.m.

    Masterson, I am losing respect for you by the minute. What is wrong with trying to force our childish, name-calling, massively dishonest president to actually answer a question AND tell the truth? If Trump wants decorum, he should actually demonstrate the behavior he wants to see in others. All Trump and Sanders have to do is tell the truth and none of this happens. Why don't you address that in your next article?

  • 23cal
    November 20, 2018 at 9:21 a.m.

    Septic:
    About "Acosta won, now thanks to him there are a set of rules for the press corps going forward."
    Perhaps you didn't get the memo that the press corps, including Fox News, was on his side here. They all joined in the lawsuit to have his press pass returned. Apparently, they are just fine with having specific rules instead of a corrupt president who despises the First Amendment protection of the press just yanking press passes on a whim, and then trying to justify it with fraudulent videos and lies.
    *
    About "These written rules were never needed before ...." See Sherrill v. Knight, 1977. Yes, the rules were needed before. Fortunately, other presidents respected freedom of the press.
    *
    About ".... the press behaved like their parents taught them, there is always that one jerk that spoils it for everyone." I doubt very many parents teach their children how to be the press and instruct them on how the press should act. I would certainly instruct my kids that if they were to become part of the press, to ask the tough questions to which we want answers, and to hold their feet to the fire when they try to dodge and lie.
    *
    About "So now when Acosta shouts more than one question and refuses to sit down the press conference will be ended, the president won't have to say a word, his colleagues will take care of him." Really? Exactly what are his colleagues going to do? Your magic 8 ball seems to be working, tell us all what it sees in the future, guided by your bias.
    *
    About "These written rules were never needed before because the press behaved like their parents taught them....."
    Let me fix that for you: "These written rules were never needed before because t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶r̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶b̶e̶h̶a̶v̶e̶d̶ ̶l̶i̶k̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ ̶p̶a̶r̶e̶n̶t̶s̶ ̶t̶a̶u̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ we never had such a thin-skinned and dishonest president who had a full court press against the press covering his incompetence instead of ones who were willing to answer the tough questions instead of pull the press passes of those who asked them."
    There. Fixed.

  • PopMom
    November 20, 2018 at 9:27 a.m.

    Great comments, 23Cal. The press should be strong and vigilant in the face of Trump's lack of respect for our Constitution and the rule of law. Trump is trying to get away with his campaign conspiracies with Russia by appointing an Attorney General without Senate confirmation. He is trying to keep immigrants out of our country in violation of our laws on asylum. Trump is trying to squash our press by barring reporters who ask him difficult questions. Hurrah for the federal judges who will not let Trump stomp on our Consitution. Hurrah also for the conservative lawyers such as George Conway who are standing up to the tyrant and demanding that he follow the law!

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