Ask a Silly Question…

…get thrown out of the White House.

And even if you ask a not-so-silly question.

So it goes for CNN’s Jim Acosta, who last week exercised the poor judgment of asking President Trump a question Trump didn’t like and then had the audacity to attempt to pin down the president when he wouldn’t give a straight answer.  Enraged, and apparently mistaking a presidential press conference for a WWE event, the White House press staff sent someone to wrestle the microphone from Acosta’s hand.

The result:  Acosta has been banned from the White House.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders, increasingly serving as Bonnie Parker to Trump’s Clyde Barrow, charged Acosta with assaulting the member of her staff who tried to take the microphone away from him.

Which everyone who was in the room could see was definitely not the case.  There was no assault.

Undaunted – and increasingly unbound by any inclination toward honesty – Sanders tweeted a link to a doctored video of the encounter in which it almost but not quite looks as if Acosta might have shoved the woman.

Only he didn’t.

So who suffers from this?

Acosta, who’s been kicked out of the press briefings.  Yes, he’s a bit of a showboat, but his questions are legitimate.

CNN’s viewers, who will now get a second string reporter asking the questions.

But the biggest loser is the constitution and its guarantee of a free press. That free press is the cornerstone of our democratic form of government, as Thomas Jefferson made clear in 1787 when he wrote that

The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

Donald Trump, it is clear, does not agree.

This now has nothing to do with Acosta. It’s about a president punishing a free press for daring question him.

You don’t have to like Jim Acosta to be troubled by his ejection from the White House. Lord knows, The Curmudgeon is certainly not a fan.  What you should be troubled by, though, is the idea that the president of the United States is comfortable with banning reporters whose questions make him uncomfortable.

And that the White House press corps is apparently not planning any kind of meaningful response to Trump’s actions.

One by one, Trump is attempting to take away our liberties – and it’s going to take a lot of Jim Acostas to prevent that from happening.

And a lot of good people to stand behind people like Acosta.

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