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Don Lemon defends CNN reporter after WH ban

CNN's Don Lemon discusses the White House banning CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins from a Rose Garden event after Collins asked President Trump questions at an Oval Office photo op.

Posted: Jul 26, 2018 7:58 PM
Updated: Jul 26, 2018 8:29 PM

Wednesday's show of solidarity among the press was a welcome sight after years of giddy media-bashing by President Donald Trump, which has gone largely unreproved by his friendliest outlets.

In a rare rebuke from Trump's preferred news outlet, Fox News, anchor Bret Baier read a statement from the network in defense of none other than the President's favorite news foe, CNN:

"Just because the White House is uncomfortable with a question regarding the news of the day doesn't mean the question isn't relevant and shouldn't be asked. This decision to bar a member of the press is retaliatory in nature and not indicative of an open and free press. We demand better. As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access."

Further, Fox News President Jay Wallace, who worked for many years alongside White House deputy chief of staff for communications (and former Fox executive) Bill Shine, issued his own statement, reading: "We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press."

This stunning show of force all came after CNN's Kaitlan Collins, representing five television networks as the pool reporter for the White House press corps, was banned from an open press event in the Rose Garden by Shine and press secretary Sarah Sanders for asking what they deemed inappropriate questions of the President during a pool spray earlier that day. Or, better put, doing her job.

As numerous other reporters have observed on air and on social media, the questions she asked were on point and voiced neither disrespectfully nor loudly. CNN released the questions, which covered Trump's thoughts about Michael Cohen and his relationship with Vladimir Putin, in a statement.

Of course, standing up for competitors in the press used to be a far more usual thing, before Trump. Then-ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper stood up for Fox in 2009 when President Barack Obama implied the latter was not a news organization.

When the Obama administration tried to ban Fox from an interview with a Treasury official, the rest of the pool reporters said essentially, it's all of us or none of us.

But in the Trump era, when only the most fawning loyalty is rewarded with access, that practice of solidarity has largely gone dormant.

It's good to see it make a much-needed comeback.

It actually started two weeks ago when Trump again derided CNN as "fake news" at a press gaggle.

"CNN is fake news," he said to Jim Acosta when he tried to ask a question during Trump's press appearance with Theresa May. "I don't take questions from CNN. Let's go to a real network," he added, giving a question to Fox News' John Roberts.

Instead of using that moment to defend his CNN colleague, Roberts went right along with his question.

But the backlash from his fellow supporters was swift, and he eventually issued a defense of CNN, saying, "There are some fine journalists who work there and risk their lives to report on stories around the world. To issue a blanket condemnation of the network as 'fake news' is also unfair."

And last week, NBC reporter Hallie Jackson asked Sanders a question about Russia at a press briefing, but Sanders wouldn't answer. When she moved on to The Hill's Jordan Fabian, he ceded his time back to Jackson.

If the people who cover this President are realizing his attacks on one are an attack on all, that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, some of the damage is already done. Trump has profited off of his phony and juvenile "fake news" campaign since he came into office -- sowing seeds of doubt in the veracity of verifiable reporting, stoking conspiracy theories that many of his supporters happily propagate and convincing wide swaths of people that the press writ large is an untrustworthy institution. And to great effect -- trust in the media is at record lows.

Gross enough on its face, Trump's undermining of one of America's most important checks on power (like the President's) has been enabled and emboldened by the silence of many people in the very business he maligns.

Going forward, let's hope we see more moments like these, when press outlets stand together regardless of the coverage of the President, instead of the relative silence from some corners that has shrouded Trump's first year and a half in office.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10409104
Hinds10279202
Harrison7313112
Jackson6566128
Rankin5887106
Lee529496
Madison5014107
Forrest389786
Jones369088
Lauderdale3594147
Lafayette338253
Washington3246108
Lamar297850
Oktibbeha252362
Lowndes247064
Bolivar244384
Panola232653
Neshoba2249121
Marshall222851
Leflore208591
Monroe206778
Pontotoc204231
Lincoln197366
Sunflower192655
Warren180258
Tate177751
Union171926
Copiah167940
Pike165359
Yazoo160140
Scott159430
Itawamba157635
Alcorn155628
Pearl River155368
Coahoma152743
Simpson152653
Prentiss151331
Adams144752
Grenada143345
Leake139744
Holmes133461
Covington128639
Tippah128430
George128325
Winston125526
Hancock124341
Wayne121323
Marion119446
Attala119334
Tishomingo112443
Chickasaw109432
Newton108229
Tallahatchie98127
Clay94727
Clarke93653
Jasper85223
Stone80615
Calhoun78713
Walthall77629
Montgomery76926
Carroll74115
Lawrence73814
Smith73216
Yalobusha73128
Noxubee72717
Perry68326
Tunica62619
Greene61522
Jefferson Davis59017
Claiborne58916
Amite56615
Humphreys54719
Benton50018
Quitman5007
Webster46714
Kemper45018
Wilkinson40522
Jefferson37112
Choctaw3617
Franklin3555
Sharkey32417
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
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