Not wanting another incident where someone gets Acosta’d (pause for laughter) the White House has issued a set of rules for reporters by which to conduct themselves for future press conferences.
(1) A journalist called upon to ask a question will ask a single question and then will yield the floor to other journalists;
(2) At the discretion of the President or other White House official taking questions, a follow-up question or questions may be permitted; and where a follow up has been allowed and asked, the questioner will then yield the floor;
(3) “Yielding the floor” includes, when applicable, physically surrendering the microphone to White House staff for use by the next questioner.
(4) Failure to abide by any of rules (1)-(3) may result in suspension or revocation of the journalist’s hard pass.
These rules were included in a statement from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders who said that the rules were created “with a degree of regret.
“For years, members of the White House press corps have attended countless press events with the President and other officials without engaging in the behavior Mr. Acosta displayed at the November 7, 2018 press conference,” said Sanders’ statement. “We would have greatly preferred to continue hosting White House press conferences in reliance on a set of understood professional norms, and we believe the overwhelming majority of journalists covering the White House share that preference. But, given the position taken by CNN, we now feel obligated to replace previously shared practices with explicit rules.”
Sanders went on to say that they may expand the rules if unprofessionalism is continuously shown in areas outside of press specific areas. A good example of this would be when CNN’s Jim Acosta decided that the White House egg roll event was a good time to try to push gotcha questions on President Donald Trump about his immigration policies. Sanders noted, however, that they’d rather not have to pass such rules.
“If unprofessional behavior occurs in those settings, or if a court should decide that explicit rules are required to regulate conduct there, we will be forced to reconsider this decision,” said Sanders’ statement.
“The White House’s interaction with the press is, and generally should be, subject to a natural give-and-take. President Trump believes strongly in the First Amendment, and a free press and is the most accessible President in modern history,” Sanders added. “It would be a great loss for all if, instead of relying on the professionalism of White House journalists, we were compelled to devise a lengthy and detailed code of conduct for White House events.”