Reporters are supposed to ask questions at press conferences.
A Texas GOP congressman is demanding that a CNN reporter be fired for being “disrespectful” to Donald Trump at the president-elect’s press conference Wednesday. Spoiler alert: It’s not going to happen.
During the news conference, in which Trump dismissed unverified claims that Russian operatives have personal and financial information on him, he blamed CNN for reporting that the classified documents existed. CNN argues it’s a newsworthy story because it says the documents had made their way through the highest levels of U.S. intelligence, including President Barack Obama. And CNN never outright published the unverified documents, unlike BuzzFeed.
Trump met CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s attempts at asking him a question with his trademark pettiness.
“You are fake news!” Trump said, refusing to take Acosta’s question. (As a point of clarity, CNN is in fact not a fake news organization.)
The CNN reporter who was disruptive to the press briefing, & disrespectful to Trump-should be fired & prohibited from any press briefings.
— Randy Weber (@TXRandy14) January 12, 2017
“The CNN reporter who was disruptive to the press briefing, & disrespectful to Trump-should be fired & prohibited from any press briefings,” Weber wrote.
What Weber fails to understand in that tweet is that at press conferences, it’s the reporter’s job to ask pointed questions for the president-elect to answer. And during that press conference, incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer allegedly threatened to boot Acosta if he attempted to ask another question, even though that is the point of a press conference.
More troubling, after Trump declined to take CNN’s question, he instead called on Breitbart, an organization closely associated with the white nationalist movement. Trump’s new chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is the former chairman of Breitbart.
“[With] all the problems that we’ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election, what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?” a reporter from Breitbart asked. Yes, that’s a supposed news organization asking the president-elect how best to control news organizations. Perhaps Rep. Weber should direct his ire at attempts to silence the press, instead of actively engaging in trying to silence the press himself.
Then again, Weber has never been one to really think things through, if this since-deleted 2015 tweet is any indication:
Sorry, Weber, but Acosta isn’t going anywhere.
CORRECTION: This article previously misstated Steve Bannon’s role in the Trump administration as chief of staff; his title is chief strategist.