Why allowing governments to single out reporters sets a dangerous precedent

New York Times reporter Melissa Chan outlined in a Twitter thread how authoritarian governments strategically destroy the reputations of journalists they dislike.

  • CNN reporter Jim Acosta has frequently locked horns with President Donald Trump during press briefings.
  • On Wednesday, Acosta and Trump had a standoff that ended with the White House revoking the reporter's press badge.
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a tweet saying Acosta had placed his hands on an intern who tried to take the microphone away from him, a claim which many rebuked.

The White House revoked the press badge of CNN reporter Jim Acosta following a heated exchange with President Donald Trump during a press conference on Wednesday.

At the press conference, Acosta tried to ask the president multiple questions about the migrant caravan and the Russia probe. The president soon grew irritated with Acosta's line of questioning, and a White House intern approached the reporter to take away the microphone.

In a video of the event, Acosta's arm makes contact with the aide's arm as he refuses to cede the microphone.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders suggested in a tweet that Acosta had become aggressive during the standoff.

Later, Sanders tweeted a video of the encounter that highlights what she called "inappropriate behavior." However, the video appears to contain extra frames compared to the original C-SPAN recording, and she's since been criticized for spreading a video that was, seemingly, doctored to exaggerate the severity of the encounter.

Some journalists, even critics of CNN, came out in defense of Acosta following Sanders' suggestion that he became physical with the White House intern.

How governments tactically destroy reporters' reputations

Melissa Chan, a New York Times journalist who in 2012 was expelled from China after her reporting angered government officials, took to Twitter on Thursday morning to outline why she believes journalists should hang together, or else they'll "hang separately."

Chan cautioned that sitting by while an administration destroys the reputation of a particular journalist will set a dangerous precedent for reporters in the future.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

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  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
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Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?

Flickr user Tom Simpson
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  • While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
  • The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
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Health care: Information tech must catch up to medical marvels

Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.

Photo: Tom Werner / Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
  • Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
  • As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
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