Jeffrey Lord on CNN and Media's Hypocrisy: 'First Amendment For Me But Not For Thee'

November 14th, 2018 6:48 PM

During Tuesday’s The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham and her panel reacted to CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration for revoking Jim Acosta’s “hard pass.” The panel included two former CNN employees, Jeffrey Lord and Howie Kurtz.

Lord, the author of a new book called Swamp Wars, pointed out that CNN has demonstrated selective moral outrage when it comes to their support for the First Amendment. According to Lord: “When people are out there attacking Fox News advertisers or trying to get Fox destroyed, when they are going after conservative contributors or commentators, whether it’s on Fox News or in conservative media, they are silent on all of this and so to is the White House Correspondents’ Association.”

Lord pointed out that he attended a White House Correspondents’ Dinner where they were “all about the First Amendment.” Following the dinner, Lord said he asked Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity if the Correspondents’ Association had ever defended them “in their various troubles when people were trying to take them off the air.” After pointing out how they answered in the negative, Lord summarized the establishment media’s philosophy as “First Amendment for me but not for thee.”



Victor Davis Hanson of The Hoover Institution argued that President Trump has a right to call CNN “fake news,” citing numerous examples of the news network reporting information that later turned out to be inaccurate or false, in addition to highlighting some of the more outrageous statements about the President made by supposedly objective journalists; including an exchange between Anderson Cooper and Lord, then a CNN Contributor, where Cooper told Lord “if he (Trump) took a dump on his desk, you would defend it.”

Hanson also cited a study from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, which found 93 percent of the coverage of CNN’s coverage of President Trump in his first 100 days was negative, before concluding that “CNN is basically part of #TheResistance.”



Ingraham argued that Acosta’s “theatrical display” at the White House press conference last week that ultimately led to the White House deciding to revoke his “hard pass” prevents other reporters from engaging in “substantive questioning on what’s going to happen with this meeting with President Xi, what’s going to go on with the attacks on the President’s trade policies from the globalists at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.”

While Kurtz argued that “it was a strategic misstep for the White House to take away the credentials,” he advised his former employer to “give him (Acosta) an opinion show, which is what he should have because he’s got a lot of opinions.” 

A transcript of the relevant portion of Tuesday’s edition of The Ingraham Angle is below. Click “expand” to read more.

The Ingraham Angle


10:23 PM

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be much higher.

ACOSTA: Let me ask…if I may ask one more question…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, that’s enough.

ACOSTA: Mr. President, if I may, if I may ask one more question…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Peter, go ahead.

ACOSTA: …are you worried…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s enough. That’s enough.

ACOSTA: Mr. President…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s enough.

ACOSTA: I was going to ask, the other folks that had…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s enough.

ACOSTA: Pardon me, ma’am, I’m…Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me, that’s enough.

LAURA INGRAHAM: I still love that intern. Do we know who that is? I really want to take her to lunch. Anyway, CNN filed a lawsuit today demanding that the Trump administration reinstate reporter Jim Costa’s, Acosta’s press credentials, a move that Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said was “more grandstanding from CNN.” Now, the White House, you’ll recall, revoked Acosta’s credentials over that theatrical display at  last week’s press conference. And CNN’s lawsuit is now claiming that banning Acosta runs afoul of the First Amendment’s freedom of the press as well as CNN’s Fifth Amendment right to due process. Joining me here to react, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Victor Davis Hanson. Howie Kurtz of, host, of course of Media Buzz and Jeffrey Lord, Former CNN contributor and author of the forthcoming book Swamp Wars. Jeffrey, let me start with you. You claim that CNN only cares about certain types of free speech. As a CNN alum, explain.

JEFFREY LORD: Yeah, well, two things. First, on the First Amendment, it’s great that they care about the First Amendment. But as I have written in Swamp Wars,  they are selective about it. When people are out there trying to attack Fox News advertisers or get Fox destroyed, when they are going after conservative contributors or commentators, whether it’s on Fox News or in conservative media, they are silent on all of this and so too is the White House Correspondents’ Association. Last year, I wrote a column about this after I went to the Correspondents’ Dinner and they were all about the First Amendment. I asked Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, if in their various troubles with people trying to take them off the air, The Correspondents’ Association had ever defended them. The answer was no. This is the problem. I mean it’s sort of, you know, First Amendment for me but not for thee. And the second thing is, you know, I have to tell you, I know Jim Acosta. I liked him. I was on panels with him, you know, in the sort of off-duty hours as we were running around America. I spent some time with him. I remember one night being in the same room with both Jim Acosta and Sarah Sanders. Things were fine. I cannot understand what he’s doing here. CNN’s own video shows him touching this girl and then he goes on CNN and says it didn’t happen. I mean, I don’t know…I don’t know what to say about that.

INGRAHAM: I don’t care, I don’t care if he is like the humanitarian of the year, okay? I’m now, I think we should ban anyone saying someone’s a nice person…I’m glad they are a nice person, they help puppies and cats out of trees, great.

LORD: Just apologize.

INGRAHAM: But he…but it is a stunt. This is, this is “look at me” time in the White House press room. I want to go to Howie also, Howie, I always forget you worked for CNN; eight eons ago.

HOWARD KURTZ: A different era.

INGRAHAM: A different era but this is what CNN said in a statement today, Howie. Among other things, the Fifth Amendment rights to due process, that’s the funniest of all, First Amendment right, freedom of the press. And it said, “if left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.” Has Donald Trump not availed reporters of himself and tough questions over the last year?

HOWARD KURTZ: He’s taking zillions of questions, especially lately. But with this lawsuit, CNN is basically signaling to millions of Trump supporters that not only does it seem journalistically opposed to the President; it is legally opposing the President. And when Jeff Zucker, the CNN President who’s now casting himself as a defender of press freedom, said today the First Amendment guarantees right, reporters the right to ask tough questions. Nobody is disputing that. It’s not about Acosta’s questions though, he tended to lecture the President rather than ask questions. It’s about him flaunting the rules, interrupting other reporters, interrupting the President and refusing to give up the mic and that’s been lost in this battle over credentials.

INGRAHAM: VDH, the public’s view of the press, as you have pointed out many times in your writings, has been declining fairly precipitously over the years. How does this affect that?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Well, it’s in a larger context, the Shorenstein Center, no conservative outlet said 93 percent of CNN’s first 100 days was anti-Trump and then we had Christiane Amanpour, a pretty stellar luminary at CNN said she could no longer be neutral when it came to Trump. And we have got to keep the psycho-drama in context, it’s not like Trump is surveiling The Associated Press or Jim, James Rosen at Fox. He hasn’t…

KURTZ: That happened during the Obama administration, as I recall.

HANSON: Yes it did. And the other thing to remember is CNN, I mean, when Trump says fake news, what comes to my mind is they said that Comey would refute, CNN did, Comey would refute the Trump testimony, not. They said that Donald Trump Jr. had advanced knowledge of the Wikileaks. Not. They said Donald Trump knew about the Russian meeting in the Tower. Not. They said that Scaramucci had $10 billion hedge fund connection with Russians. Not. You put all of that context and then you have Anderson Cooper with the “dump” quote, you had, I think, the religion editor said, remember, the religion editor said Trump is a piece of…I can’t repeat what he said. We had Kathy Griffin with the facsimile of a head…

INGRAHAM: Well, Ana Navarro last week, does she work for CNN?

KURTZ: She’s a contributor.


KURTZ: They were joking on a hot mic. Remember the joke about the hot mic? Trump would crash.

INGRAHAM: Ana Navarro said, called the President of the United States a racist pig last week and then it’s like this.

HANSON: How about the former head of the CIA, Hayden twice invoked the holocaust and Nazi imagery.

INGRAHAM: So that’s fake. That’s a lie and they are perpetuating the lie.

HANSON: So CNN is basically part of the resistance and I think that Acosta knows that and he’s virtue signaling to his audience, to his peers, and to his bosses.

INGRAHAM: Well, I also have heard Jeffrey, from, well now, three members of the White House media circles, that they don’t like this. Again, I’m not going to get into personalities. Some people are liked, that’s not important. But it does take away from substantive questioning on what’s going to happen with this meeting with President Xi, what’s going to go on with the attacks on the President’s trade policies from the globalists at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, all these hedge funders that are trying to affect the President’s policy? Those are really interesting questions. What are you going to do with the caravans? But you can’t ask those because Jim Acosta has to throw a hissy fit as a grown man and pull a microphone away from like a 22-year-old young woman. I mean, that’s classy. I’m sorry, but it’s just embarrassing. It’s embarrassing for CNN. I am glad Ted Turner said what he said recently, or was it Ted Turner who said or Larry King who said CNN has long since gone. Larry King just said it’s all about Trump, it’s long since been a news network. It’s not a news network anymore. Jeffrey.

LORD: Well, you’ve got all of those peers of his in the room and you have to believe that at a certain point, they are saying for heaven’s sakes, Jim, sit down and shut up.

INGRAHAM: Why aren’t they saying anything?

LORD: Well, I think what we have is a serious case of groupthink and herd thinking.

INGRAHAM: They’re all scared.

LORD: And I think some of them are afraid to because it’s peer pressure. You know, when they are all supposed to be anti-Trump. I think that’s why they don’t speak out.

KURTZ: I do think…I do think it was a strategic misstep for the White House to take away the credentials because it made him more him into a journalistic martyr, at the same time, it’s made Jim Acosta famous. Maybe CNN will give him an opinion show, which is what he should have because he’s got a lot of opinions.

INGRAHAM: Yeah, he’s not a reporter. He’s an opinion guy. VDH, I have got to ask you what about Trump standing there, instead of revoking credentials standing there saying “guys, I’m happy to answer questions. When you all want to have a press conference, let me know. Tell Sarah. I will be back.” And just leave.

HANSON: I think that might be wise but it is sort of like revoking the security clearance from Brennan. Brennan basically called Trump, you know, treasonous. So it was the same idea that…if you hijack your show and don’t announce or opinionate and you just start ranting or if I…if I was a presser for 35 years, if I took a class over and I started doing that, I don’t have First Amendment rights. My bosses or the Dean would call me in and say, you know, you’re done. You are unprofessional. The idea that he has a God-given right to sermonize and pontificate on a soapbox…

INGRAHAM: The lawsuit is a farce. And Ted Butros, who’s a respected lawyer for arguing that this is a due process or First Amendment issue, anyone who knows anything about First Amendment law, I’m sorry, that itself is a disgrace. You don’t have a, you don’t have a First Amendment right to enter the White House compound. It’s preposterous.