Fox is backing CNN in its lawsuit against President Donald Trump, press secretary Sarah Sanders and others, and will do so in writing, as it were.
Fox News president Jay Wallace made that support crystal clear in a statement Wednesday (Nov. 14): “FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court."
That is a friend of the court brief, or in this case friend of the CNN argument to the court that the pass of senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta should not have been pulled after his dust-up with the President during a press conference and should be restored.
"Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized," Fox continued. "While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”
The President has been a fan of Fox in the past, though that is not always the case. He had yet to Tweet at press time about either the CNN suit or Fox's support.
The News Media Alliance, which represents print and digital journalists, also came out strongly for CNN.
"The News Media Alliance stands in full support of CNN’s defense of its First Amendment rights," said that group. "We need quality journalism – now more than ever – from respected news organizations employing professional journalists who will hold those in positions of power accountable. We commend CNN for not allowing the Trump administration to intimidate them by threatening the very rights on which our nation was founded, and which ensure the preservation of a strong democratic society."
There was a hearing in the D.C. District Court Wednesday (at 3:30 p.m.). CNN wants the court to restore the pass immediately so Acosta can do his job. It argues that the President violated the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment (due process), and that everyone but the President violated the Administrative Procedures Act because they acted arbitrarily and capriciously in revoking the pass.
Late Wednesday, CNN reported that the judge in the case said he would rule Thursday on the network's request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that reinstates Acosta's pass.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said he thought that the First Amendment argument--that the White House was censoring Acosta over the content of the network's speech, not his conduct at a press conference, was strong, the Fifth Amendment argument less so.