Free Press Under Attack
CNN’s Jim Acosta had an interesting Twitter exchange with Brad Parscale this week. Parscale was the digital media director for President Trump’s 2016 campaign and has been named campaign manager for the 2020 reelection campaign.
At the signing ceremony following the U.S./North Korea summit this week, Acosta shouted out questions while the leaders were signing the agreement. One of the questions inquired whether Trump had discussed Otto Warmbier with Kim Jong-un. Given that Warmbier was tortured and killed by the North Korea regime, it seems like a pretty reasonable question. But Mr. Parscale would respectfully disagree. He seems to think this is cause for Acosta to lose his press credentials.
I suppose one could argue that Acosta should have kept his mouth shut during the ceremony. But I’d like those folks to answer this question honestly, do you think Brad Parscale would have made the same demand had Acosta’s question been “Do you think this is the greatest diplomatic success in our nation’s history”? If the answer is no, then don’t pretend this is about protocol. It’s not.
Thank goodness for Jim Acosta. Thanks goodness for his doggedness. Thank goodness for him not being polite. And thank goodness for the First Amendment which protects his right to shout out unpopular questions at awkward moments. President Trump should have taken the opportunity to tell Kim Jong-un how that moment illustrated the true freedom our country enjoys.
I visited the Newseum in Washington, D.C. two years ago. I saw a piece of the Berlin Wall. The East German side was pristine. The West German side was covered with graffiti. One side represented authoritarian control, the other side freedom. And the freedom side was messier. I’ll take messy every time.