Minutes after a federal judge ordered the White House to reinstate CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass, Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs took to Twitter to bash the decision, contradicting his network’s company line in the process.
“Outrageously puerile reasoning and ruling: Our district courts are filled with farcical excuses for judges,” Dobbs tweeted, linking to a Fox story about the Friday ruling.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, granted the network’s request to temporarily restore Acosta’s White House press badge after it was revoked last week following a public spat with the president during a press conference.
Dobbs, one of the network’s most feverishly pro-Trump hosts, railed against the “absurd ruling,” ending the rant with Trump’s favorite slogan as a reminder of where his loyalties lie.
“Judge Kelly's absurd ruling cites a 1977 precedent that doesn't relate to disruptive conduct in briefings or the WH itself,” he wrote in the follow-up tweet. “Kelly's precedent goes to political motives, or unspoken motives, or partisan differences for denial of credentials. Not relevant to this case. #MAGA”
The rant came two days after Dobb’s bosses at Fox News publicly backed CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration, filing a supportive amicus brief with other major news networks.
But Lou Dobbs apparently didn’t get the company memo—or if he did, he didn’t care for it.
On Thursday night, the Fox host began his show by railing against the CNN lawsuit, suggesting the real reason CNN sued the White House was to get attention and free publicity.
In a segment with Trump’s former deputy campaign manager David Bossie, Dobbs started the conversation by asking about Acosta, whom he called an “embarrassment to any news organization covering the president of the United States.”
“He is an embarrassment and that is one of the reasons that the president decided to take the swift action that he did,” Bossie agreed. “Jim Acosta made that press conference a travesty. And he made about himself. It was his ego-driven speech to the president that, not a question, not a question but a speech.”
Dobbs, of course, agreed, claiming that Acosta’s actions during the contentious presser was simply an attempt to become Trump’s “peer” even though he’s “a lowly journalist,” adding that the “frivolous” lawsuit should not be “taken very seriously.”
This was after his bosses publicly backed the lawsuit.
And yet, Dobbs continued: “This is a publicity stunt on the part of CNN and they are getting all of this airtime. Most especially when I am talking about it.”
In a statement supporting CNN on Wednesday, Fox News president Jay Wallace said: “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. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized.”
The Fox brass added: “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.”
But Dobbs often openly contradicts his network’s management, typically siding with the president or baseless right-wing conspiracy theories instead of the facts.
Last month, as news emerged of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Trump critics—including CNN—many far-right public figures declared the threats as a “hoax” aimed at garnering sympathy votes for Democrats ahead of the midterm elections.
Alongside right-wing media allies and later Trump himself, Lou Dobbs became the highest-profile media star to embrace the conspiracy theory, summing it up in a slogan: “Fake news, fake bombs,” before adding in a now-deleted tweet: “Who could possibly benefit from such fakery?”
In July, when Fox News last stood with CNN by publicly expressing solidarity after White House reporter Kaitlin Collins was banished from a Rose Garden press conference, Dobbs didn’t agree, going against his bosses mere minutes after they stood with their rival news outlet.
During his top-rated primetime show, Dobbs praised the White House for punishing the CNN reporter for “shouting” a question at the president during a photo-op.
“It’s about time there were consequences for disrespectful behavior in the White House,” he said, bashing Collins, who previously worked for a pro-Trump outlet before being hired by CNN. “I guess my question would be, ‘Who the hell are you?’ The president does insist on respect.”
Dobbs isn’t only the Fox host to drag CNN and Acosta, even after Fox brass publicly backed them.
Fox News primetime host and prominent Trump booster Tucker Carlson began his show Wednesday with a rant about CNN’s lawsuit, deeming the network among “greatest enemies” of free speech.
“Call CNN what you will, but don’t pretend they are defenders of the First Amendment,” Carlson said. “They are not. We’re always for free speech, especially speech that’s offensive.”
He then pointed to his rival network’s investigation into conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his website Infowars—a report that led to the fringe outlet’s banishment from almost “every major tech platform.” That prohibition by private social-media sites, Carlson argued, is no more unlawful than the White House banishing CNN’s Jim Acosta.
“You don’t have to like Alex Jones to see that as a terrifying loss for free speech, because it was exactly that,” he argued. “But CNN was not done trying to silence its critics.
Even before Fox backed CNN’s lawsuit, many of the network’s stars seemed to side with the White House in its dispute against Acosta. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace—known for being a consummate newsman—called Acosta’s behavior “shameful,” while Fox Business Network host Trish Regan suggested to a guest that the reporter’s interaction with a female White House intern who tried to grab his microphone away constituted sexual assault.
Additionally, Fox primetime host Laura Ingraham called the reporter’s attempt to ask a question a “disgraceful performance,” and frequent Fox guests Diamond & Silk called the CNN reporter “the enemy of the people.”
“Jim Acosta is a lot of things but he’s not a fair, balanced, independent journalist,” Sean Hannity, the Fox family’s biggest Trump sycophant, said in a 10-minute rant on his show Tuesday. “He is a far-left grandstanding, sycophant left-winger capitalizing on his blatant anti-Trump bias. And his conduct inside the White House has been, frankly, a lot of times, anything but professional.”
Perhaps to the dismay of these Fox News hosts, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday statement that the White House would “temporarily” restore Acosta’s press credentials, relenting its first legal battle to CNN as court proceedings continue on whether the White House violated the CNN reporter’s Fifth Amendment rights.
“Today, the court made clear that there is no absolute First Amendment right to access the White House,” Sanders said in the statement. “In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter’s hard pass. We will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House.”