Fox News Channel announced Wednesday it will support CNN’s lawsuit against the White House over the temporary suspension of White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s “hard pass” press credential, revealing the company will file an amicus brief in defense of the partisan network.
Fox News issued a statement accusing the White House of “weaponizing” Secret Service passes for reporters:
FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. 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.
In a brief statement shared to Twitter, CNN thanked Fox News for backing its lawsuit against the White House.
NBC and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists told CNN that they will be joining the brief in support of the network.
According to Axios, the following news outlets are also joining the brief: The Associated Press, Bloomberg, First Look Media, Gannett, the New York Times, Politico, EW Scripps, USA Today Network, Washington Post, Press Freedom Defense Fund, and National Press Club.
Further, CBS News released a separate statement revealing the network will file a friend of the court brief in support of CNN.
The administration stripped Acosta of his pass to enter the White House following President Donald Trump’s contentious news conference last week, where Acosta refused to give up a microphone when the president said he didn’t want to hear anything more from him.
In response to the lawsuit, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement: “this is just more grandstanding from CNN, and we will vigorously defend against his lawsuit.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association backed the lawsuit, filed in Washington, D.C., district court.
“The president of the United States should not be in the business of arbitrarily picking the men and women who cover him,” said Oliver Knox, president of the correspondents’ group.
CNN said Acosta was given no warning of the action, and no recourse to appeal it. Acosta traveled to Paris to cover Trump’s visit there this weekend and, although given permission by the French government to cover a news event, the Secret Service denied him entrance, the company said.
“Without this credential, a daily White House correspondent like Acosta effectively cannot do his job,” CNN’s lawsuit said.
CNN asked for an injunction to immediately reinstate Acosta, as well as a hearing on the larger issue of barring a reporter.
Acosta has been a polarizing figure even beyond the distaste that Trump and his supporters have for him. The Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, editorialized last week that Acosta’s encounter with Trump at the news conference “was less about asking questions and more about making statements. In doing so, the CNN White House reporter gave President Donald Trump room to critique Acosta’s professionalism.”
In an opinion-editorial published Wednesday, Breitbart News senior legal editor Ken Klukowski argued President Trump will the lawsuit because the “Constitution does not allow a federal court to issue this kind of order to the White House,” while the “First Amendment does not protect” Acosta’s actions.