Fox News has backed CNN’s lawsuit against President Trump, arguing that press passes for the White House should never be “weaponised”.
The statement by Fox News president Jay Wallace also said that the US network intended to hand an “amicus brief” to the US District Court.
An amicus brief is a legal document handed to a court by a third party that has interest in a case. It typically contains evidence and points for consideration in the case.
Fox News is widely understood to be where Trump gets his news.
CNN’s lawsuit, filed at a DC District Court in Washington DC yesterday, took issue with the White House’s decision to revoke the press pass of its correspondent Jim Acosta.
CNN claimed the decision amounted to a violation of his First Amendment rights and “would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials” if it went unchallenged.
It also cited the Fifth Amendment over a lack of due process.
Wallace said: “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 US District Court.
“Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponised.
“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.”
According to a release from US law firm Ballard Spahr, seen by US political news website The Hill, more US news organisations will submit amicus briefs to the court, including NBC News, the New York Times, Bloomberg, Politico, Associated Press, the Washington Post and US Today.
The White House revoked Acosta’s pass last week after a tense press conference (pictured) where it was claimed Acosta put his hands on an intern who tried to take a microphone off him while he questioned Trump.
Both CNN and Acosta have rejected the White House claim that he effectively chopped at the staffer’s arm, saying it is a lie.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared a video that she claimed showed the alleged incident on Thursday last week, but some users were quick to suggest the video had been doctored.
Trump has since denied this and insisted it was simply a “close-up”.
CNN claims Acosta had his press pass revoked because he had asked challenging questions of the president.
In a statement yesterday, White House press secretary Sanders said: “We vigorously defend against this lawsuit.
“CNN, who has nearly 50 additional pass holders, and Mr Acosta is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment.
“After Mr Acosta asked the President two questions – each of which the President answered – he physically refused to surrender a White House microphone to an intern, so that other reporters might ask their questions.
“This was the first time this reporter has inappropriately refused to yield to other reporters.
“The White House cannot run an orderly and fair press conference when a reporter acts this way, which is neither appropriate nor professional.
“The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolise the floor.
“If there is no check on this type of behaviour it impedes the ability of the President, the White House staff, and members of the media to conduct business.”
Picture: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst