Fox News , US President Donald Trump ‘s favorite news network, announced Wednesday that it will back CNN in its lawsuit against the Trump administration for having revoked reporter Jim Acosta ‘s White House press pass.
Fox News said in a statement that it plans to file an amicus brief in the case, a figure that allows third parties to express their support for one of the sides.
“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 US District Court,” Fox News President Jay Wallace said in a statement, adding that “Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.”
“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 statement says.
Fox News’s announcement is quite extraordinary, considering that the news network is generally supportive of the Trump administration and that some of its anchors, including Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, have a close relationship with the president and even appeared with him at a rally during the mid-term election campaigns.
The lawsuit seeks the restoration of Jim Acosta’s press pass, which was revoked last week after a tense press conference in which Trump and the CNN reporter engaged in heated exchanges.
CNN said in a statement on Tuesday that the revocation of Acosta’s press pass “violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process.”
Twelve other US news organizations have also announced that they will be filing amicus briefs in support of CNN’s lawsuit, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, NBC News, AP and Bloomberg.
The Press Freedom Defense Fund and the National Press Club’s Journalism Institute said they would also file amicus briefs backing CNN.
In response, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration would “vigorously defend” itself against the lawsuit, adding that CNN “has nearly 50 additional hard pass holders” and that Acosta “is no more or less special than any other media outlet or reporter with respect to the First Amendment.”