CNN’s Acosta Rules It’s Un-American to Slam CNN, News Media; Doesn’t Regret Screaming at Trump

CNN’s Jim Acosta has become a prominent media figure thanks to the presidential campaign and is frequently blogged on NewsBusters. On Wednesday at Washington D.C.’s The Newseum, Acosta was unhinged, ruling it’s un-American to harshly criticize the media and apocalyptically spoke of Trump eradicating the media.

Acosta appeared with fellow White House reporters Julia Pace of the Associated Press, NBC’s Kristen Welker, Glenn Thrush of The New York Times, and Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering in a panel moderated by the Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier. Other panelists offered intriguing quotes, but Acosta rose above them in significance with his diatribes.

Acosta spoke at length about his contentious exchanges with Trump, with one from January 11

He and I had this back and forth and just to quickly go over that, my feeling is that our news organization was being attacked on that day. We were being called fake news and so forth and I felt that I deserved and our organization deserved a question to challenge him on what was being reported at that time[.] 

Skipping ahead to their February 16 throwdown, Acosta noted that Trump “enjoys the sparring back and forth” before getting on his high horse, trotting out the argument that the truth is important now more than ever (and supposedly not during the Obama years).

“I think, now more than ever, speaking truth to power means everything and so, I think that is what I was trying to do on that day back in January and I think that’s what we at CNN and I think my colleagues here try to do every day,” Acosta complained.

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Baier followed-up by wondering if he regretted his behavior, but Acosta doubled down. For all the talk about knocking Sean Spicer for his idiotic mistake about Hitler, Acosta’s line in this excerpt was doomsday-like:

If our news organization is being attacked, my sense is that that cannot go without any kind of response and, you know, really quickly, that night I heard from a news executive from another network who said: “Hey, you did a great job today defending our network.” And I said – I texted back to him, I said: “I was defending all of us because it could be your network tomorrow.”

Minutes later, Acosta ranted about how Trump “has an unhealthy attitude toward the news media” and looked back on his rallies, including crowds chanting that “CNN sucks.”

He argued that the news media rely on Republicans and Democrats to “believe what’s being said in the mainstream news media,” but Trump’s preventing that from happening due to the “real damage” he’s inflicted on the country.

“He is doing real damage to the First Amendment in this country when he refers to the news media as the enemies of the people. Now, I know some of that is production, it’s the, you know, he’s from Fifth Avenue, so there is a little bit of Broadway there...I think words matter, and those kinds of attacks have to be taken seriously,” Acosta fretted.

Ignoring the fact that the liberal media are doing all they can (and delighting in) destroying the Trump presidency, Acosta suggested “a detente between this administration and the news media or else it’s just going to get worse and worse” because “[w]e need people to trust.”

Spiering attempted to note that Trump’s infamous tweets contained “a certain element of truth,” but Acosta wasn’t having it and lost his mind. Moments after pleading for unity, Acosta trashed Spiering and anyone who he doesn’t consider part of “the media”:

I’m not talking about an element of the truth. How about just the truth? Why can't we just have the truth? That’s — that’s my question. And that’s, you know, as much as people want to beat up on CNN and go after CNN and CNN sucks and that sort of thing, which your readers do and your side of the aisle does. I was with Steve Bannon the other day where he referred to us as the opposition party once again. We’re not the opposition party. We are just trying to get at the truth[.]

Acosta added that “when you have a side of the news media that just insists time and again that, you know, CNN is out to get the President or out to get certain people in this country, I think it just does a tremendous disservice to all Americans.”

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Pause here for a second. CNN’s White House correspondent says blasting the media is un-America? That’s interesting when one recalls CNN’s infamous Baghdad bureau that doubled as a sheep farm for Saddam to push out propaganda. Also during that time, founder Ted Turner banned the network from using the word “foreign.”

Back to the present. Spiering later pushed back, but not before Acosta lamented that “we have got to get to a point where we are not demonizing each other and cutting each other's throats because we do not agree with one another” which should start with the White House and Breitbart (presumably before anyone else.)

The Breitbart reporter finally spoke, poking holes in Acosta’s rendition of Kumbaya, noting how “that sort of go along, get along, everyone gets along climate in Washington D.C. is what Americans are tired of” down to “the closeness of the news media with the officials they cover.”

“They’re tired of the stories that everybody is hanging out and going out to dinners and partying and they’re tired of that,” he added before being shouted down by his fellow panelists and groaned at by the audience.

Pace claimed “[t]hat happens with Republicans and Democrats too.” She continued: “To be fair. I mean, it is not as though reporters are hanging out with only Democrats. We have dinners and lunches and coffees with Republicans as well.”

Spiering responded that this wining and dining is the embodiment of “the establishment” and “part of the swamp, that, you know, the Trump supporters were very sick of.”

Of course, Acosta wound down the debate by snidely telling his White House counterpart: “But hey Charlie, the campaign is over.”

Okay, so, if “the campaign is over,” why is the news media hanging on Hillary Clinton’s every interview, photo, and word out of her mouth about why she lost? If “the campaign is over,” why are the media obsessed with the Russia story and doing their best to convince the American people that Russia affected the outcome? 

If “the campaign is over,” how is CNN and correspondent Brian Stelter leading the charge to destroy Sean Spicer and Fox News?

Just a few thoughts to ponder.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from The Newseum event on April 12:

The Newseum
Trump and the Press
04/12/17

JIM ACOSTA: He and I had this back and forth and just to quickly go over that, my feeling is that our news organization was being attacked on that day. We were being called fake news and so forth and I felt that I deserved and our organization deserved a question to challenge him on what was being reported at that time, which is idea that the Trump campaign was having contacts with Russia officials, Russian intelligence operatives, perhaps during the campaign and, you know, things have evolved since then. You’ll notice that there was that one news conference where he and I went back-and-forth for some eight minutes and he asked me if I was related to Alexander Acosta, who’s going to be the Labor Secretary. So I think — that did happen, you can go back and look at the tape. But, so, I think that — to some extent he enjoys the sparring back and forth and the one thing I do want to say, and we will probably have time to talk about all of this, we are told that we live in this nothing matters world or we’re in this post-truth world. I think that couldn't be further from the truth. I think, now more than ever, speaking truth to power means everything and so, I think that is what I was trying to do on that day back in January and I think that’s what we at CNN and I think my colleagues here try to do every day.

BRET BAIER: Would you do it the same way again?

ACOSTA: I would, yeah. I would do it the same way again. If our – if our news organization is being attacked, my sense is that that cannot go without any kind of response and, you know, really quickly, that night I heard from a news executive from another network who said: “Hey, you did a great job today defending our network.” And I said – I texted back to him, I said: “I was defending all of us because it could be your network tomorrow.”

(....)

ACOSTA: I think it does, and one of my regrets from the campaign is that I did not take our anchors out with us on the campaign trail, or some of our executives out on the campaign trail and, you know, perhaps I have post campaign stress disorder. You were talking about access, I am not sure access the issue so much as it is attitude toward the news media. And the President, to some extent, has an unhealthy attitude toward the news media and I think I am being diplomatic when I say this. I was out on the campaign trail time and again when he referred to the news media as the dishonest news media, the disgusting news media. He called us liars and crooks and thieves and I can’t think of all of the other names that he called us. There were chants of, you know, going after CNN that he would pause for and allow the crowd to continue those chants and, you know, I did ask him during that news conference where he did take my question, are you concerned that you are undermining American confidence in the news? Because at the end of the day, when he leaves office, we need Republicans to believe what’s being said in the mainstream news media, just as much as we need Democrats to and I think that the President has to understand that he is doing real damage to what we do. He is doing real damage to the First Amendment in this country when he refers to the news media as the enemies of the people. Now, I know some of that is production, it’s the, you know, he’s from Fifth Avenue, so there is a little bit of Broadway there, I guess or something like that. Maybe Glenn has more insight than I do. But, you know, I think words matter, and those kinds of attacks have to be taken seriously. I have talked to people inside the administration, you know, why can't the President way off of some of this fake news and enemies of the people stuff? And they say, well, you know, what do you guys do and throw it back in your face. We — at some point we will need a detente between this administration and the news media or else it’s just going to get worse and worse. We need people to trust us, and I think we have been acting in a way that garners that trust but the President doesn’t like bad stories about him and this is how he responds and we’ve got to figure a way around it.

(....)

CHARLIE SPIERING [on Trump’s wiretapping tweet]: Well, I think there’s a certain element of truth that comes from his tweets, and he was basing his tweet on why existing reports —

ACOSTA: I’m not talking about an element of the truth. How about just the truth? Why can't we just have the truth? That’s — that’s my question [APPLAUSE] And that’s, you know, as much as people want to beat up on CNN and go after CNN and CNN sucks and that sort of thing, which your readers do and your side of the aisle does. I was with Steve Bannon the other day where he referred to us as the opposition party once again. We’re not the opposition party. We are just trying to get at the truth and when you have a side of the news media that just insists time and again that, you know, CNN is out to get the President or out to get certain people in this country, I think it just does a tremendous disservice to all Americans. I do not think it is American to go after a segment of the news media. Brett knows this because Brett is a pro who does a great newscast every night on Fox News. I watch it all the time and I’m not watching Wolf Blitzer [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]

BAIER: You can DVR us.

ACOSTA: And I can DVR you and I probably have. But listen, we have got to get to a point where we are not demonizing each other and cutting each other's throats because we do not agree with one another. I mean — sorry, I am not trying to play to the audience here. I grew up in this city and I do — and people say, or member the days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill? That — that actually did exist and so we just have to — Brett and I are very friendly with each other, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for Carl Cameron and John Roberts, my Fox News colleagues out on the campaign trail and just I would love for all of us to get away from this day where we’re just ripping each other apart because of political differences. I think good people can disagree on the issues and it’s time for good people to disagree in a civil way about how the news is covered in this country and I’d love it to start down the street at Pennsylvania Avenue and I would love to see it in places like Breitbart, and perhaps our folks can do a better job at that as well.

SPIERING: Well, I think that sort of go along, get along, everyone gets along climate in Washington D.C. is what Americans are tired of. They’re tired of the closeness of the news media with the officials they cover. They’re tired of the stories that everybody is hanging out and going out to dinners and partying and they’re tired of that.

JULIE PACE: But that happens with Republicans and Democrats too. To be fair. I mean, it is not as though reporters are hanging out with only Democrats. We have dinners and lunches and coffees with Republicans as well.

SPIERING: Right but it’s part of the establishment. It’s part of the swamp, that, you know, the Trump supporters were very sick of —

[AUDIENCE GROANING]

ALL PANELISTS TO SPIERING: Charlie —

ACOSTA: But hey Charlie, the campaign is over.

THRUSH: The one thing I will say is the best party I have been to in the last year is the Daily Caller Christmas party.

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