White House ban of reporter Jim Acosta ‘a slippery slope’ - academic

Morning Talk 14/11/2018
Photo: Reuters.

US President Donald Trump’s move to ban CNN reporter Jim Acosta is very unusual in a democracy, according to a political academic.

“He calls something fake if he doesn’t like it,” said Grant Duncan, associate professor at Massey University.

He told RadioLIVE that instead of answering hard questions, President Trump’s go-to move is to shut the person asking the question down.

Prof Duncan says President Trump’s attitude towards news media could be seen as the start of a “slippery slope” toward a Khashoggi-like situation.

This is really a lack of intellectual confidence coming from a political leader.

“I really think it’s important these things are challenged head on when they arise, and it applies to academics as well, because often academics and journalists are the first ones to be targetted by authoritarian leaders.”

Meanwhile, CNN has filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump over his administration's treatment of Mr. Acosta.

The American cable network is seeking an immediate restoration of Mr Acosta's press credentials.

Mr Acosta's credentials were revoked after a fiery press conference, where a White House intern tried to physically wrestle the microphone out of the journalist’s hands.

Reporter Jim Acosta. Photo: Reuters.

At the time the White House had claimed Mr Acosta had inappropriately touched the intern when he tried to move her hands out of the way.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Twitter Mr Acosta's actions were inappropriate.

"We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern," she wrote.

"This conduct is absolutely unacceptable. It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter's colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question.

"President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history."

But Prof Duncan argues that there’s been quite a bit of intolerance from both the Democrats and Republicans in recent years, particularly on views they don’t like to hear.

“This is really a lack of intellectual confidence coming from a political leader because a real smart leader will know how to counter those kinds of things in an intelligent way.”

Listen to the full interview with Grant Duncan above.

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