Acosta Loses It Over No Audio, No Video WH Briefing; ‘Don't Know What World We're Living In’

On Monday afternoon, CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta became absolutely unglued, expressing deep anger and horror at the Trump administration following the White House daily briefing that was conducted without audio or video to show viewers on orders from the President. 

“That's the White House behind me....It's bizarre, I don't know what world we're living in right now, Brooke, where we're standing at the White House, and they bring us into the briefing room here at the White House and they won't answer these questions on camera, or let us record the audio. I don't know why everybody is going along with this,” a bewailed Acosta shouted to colleague Brooke Baldwin.

The segment started with Baldwin tossing to Acosta to explain what happened when White House press secretary Sean Spicer took to the podium. Acosta informed viewers: “I wish we had some video or audio from this briefing to share with you, but the White House mandated that we are not allowed to cover the White House press secretary for the United States of America in that fashion.”

“The White House is refusing to answer those questions on camera or in any kind of fashion where we can record the audio. My guess is because they want their evasive answers not saved for posterity. That is the only conclusion one could draw. That when they give us answers, that it somehow reads better in print than it could be seen on television or heard over the radio,” he added.

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After summarizing some of the questions that were posed to Spicer, Acosta hilariously predicted how some would react to this temper tantrum:

And I guess people can say, well, there goes the media again. They’re acting like cry babies because they can't cover things in the way that they want. But, you know, maybe I'm old-fashioned, Brooke but I believe the White House for the United States should have the questions answered on camera to see what they’re saying and when they don't do this, they're doing a disservice to the people to the country[.]

Acosta emphasized that he doesn’t “want to sound like I’m getting on a soapbox,” but he had been and continued to do exactly that.

“When, you know, Sean Spicer...just comes in and says you can't record the video or audio from these briefings, that wouldn't be tolerated at city council meetings or a governor's press conference....I just don’t know what we’re doing....It’s like we’re just covering bad reality television, is what it feels like now,” a flustered correspondent continued.

Baldwin inquired about whether Spicer is even having basic policy discussions with the President and Acosta responded that “[i]t’s a really good question, Brooke, a question I would ask, but unfortunately at this White House, we wouldn't have the video or audio to show you the answer to that question because of the stonewalling that we're getting.”

No, Jim, you can and should still ask that question. Just because there’s no video for you and your colleagues to illustrate your grandstanding doesn’t mean you should abandon your questions. That’s, you know, journalism.

It was at this point that Acosta really lost it:

That's the White House behind me. The White House and it's just — it's bizarre, I don't know what world we're living in right now, Brooke, where we're standing at the White House, and they bring us into the briefing room here at the White House and they won't answer these questions on camera, or let us record the audio. I don't know why everybody is going along with this. It doesn't makes sense to me, and it just feels like we're sort of slowly but sure by being dragged into a new normal where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions. 

Also, he couldn’t help but concede in an aside how bitter he has remained that “conservative media” folks received questions at press conferences alongside “somebody from the mainstream media” like himself. Three words: Get over it.

“If they can't give us questions — the answers to the questions on-camera or where we can record they audio, they're basically pointless at this point because you're not getting the chance to see whether — are they evading the question? The transcript doesn't really show that,” he finally concluded.

This whole meltdown was amusing for a few reasons. First, Acosta maintained on April 12 at the Newseum that not only is the media not the opposition party, but it’s un-American to even suggest that or criticize the news media. So, who’s been the uncivil one here?

Further, average news consumers rarely saw footage of a hostile exchange at an Obama briefing, whether the press secretary was Robert Gibbs, Jay Carney, or Josh Earnest. Why? Because it was gathering of old friends sharing liberal talking points and softballs.

For the rare occasions it wasn’t and a reporter would tussle with, say, Earnest, that reporter’s network would do bury the exchange (see here and here).

Lastly, the White House press corps is rather large. With that in mind, Acosta’s repeated outbursts of bitterness stand out. It’s quite amusing as he essentially admitted to on Monday.

Jim Acosta's lamenting was paid for by Allstate and Golden Corral.

Here’s the relevant portions of the transcript from June 19's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin
June 19, 2017
2:27 p.m. Eastern
            
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Just In; Spicer Holds No-Video, No-Audio Press Briefing]

JIM ACOSTA: Yeah, Brooke, I wish we had some video or audio from this briefing to share with you, but the White House mandated that we are not allowed to cover the White House press secretary for the United States of America in that fashion and so yes, when we're asking important questions about where are the tapes? Does the President have recordings of conversations with the White House? The White House is refusing to answer those questions on camera or in any kind of fashion where we can record the audio. My guess is because they want their evasive answers not saved for posterity. That is the only conclusion one could draw. That when they give us answers, that it somehow reads better in print than it could be seen on television or heard over the radio. There were a number of the important questions asked about the health care bill that is being, I guess cobbled together in the Senate and what the White House has to say about that. You’re not going to hear or see those answers. The question was asked whether the President has the ability to fire the Special Prosecutor, Robert Mueller, you’re not going to be able hear or see the answers to those questions. You'll only going to be able to read about it. And I guess people can say, well, there goes the media again. They’re acting like cry babies because they can't cover things in the way that they want. But, you know, maybe I'm old-fashioned, Brooke but I believe the White House for the United States should have the questions answered on camera — 

BROOKE BALDWIN: I’m right there with you.

ACOSTA: — to see what they’re saying and when they don't do this, they're doing a disservice to the people to the country and I don't want to sound like I'm getting on my soapbox, but when, you know, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, who’s pretty highly paid for a government official in this country, just comes in and says you can't record the video or audio from these briefings, that wouldn't be tolerated at city council meetings or a governor's press conference and here we have the representative of the President of the United States saying, no, you can't cover it that way. I just don’t know what we’re doing. It's not like we're covering a White House anymore with Kellyanne Conway and Omarosa in the briefing room off to the side of Sean refusing to be on camera. It’s like we’re just covering bad reality television, is what it feels like now. 

(....)

ACOSTA: So the White House press secretary is getting to a point, Brooke, where he’s just kind of useless, you know, if he can't come out and answer the questions and they're just not going to do this on-camera or audio, why are we having these briefings or these gaggles in the first place? 

BALDWIN: Is he not even having conversations with the President about simple questions like climate change? Do you think he just simply doesn’t know? Why isn’t he having those conversions with the President?

ACOSTA: It's a really good question, Brooke, a question I would ask, but unfortunately at this White House, we wouldn't have the video or audio to show you the answer to that question because of the stonewalling that we're getting. That's the White House behind me. The White House and it's just — it's bizarre, I don't know what world we're living in right now, Brooke, where we're standing at the White House, and they bring us into the briefing room here at the White House and they won't answer these questions on camera, or let us record the audio. I don't know why everybody is going along with this. It doesn't makes sense to me, and it just feels like we're sort of slowly but sure by being dragged into a new normal where the President of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions. He hasn't had a full-blown press conference since February. He has these two plus two press conferences with a foreign head of state where, you know, he may take a question from a conservative media reporter, and then maybe somebody from the mainstream media. That just isn’t how we doing things in this country, but for whatever reason, we're all going along with it. I don't understand why we covered that gaggle today, quite honestly, Brooke. If they can't give us questions — the answers to the questions on-camera or where we can record they audio, they're basically pointless at this point because you're not getting the chance to see whether — are they evading the question? The transcript doesn't really show that, and I think people — smart people who have been doing this for a long time on both sides of the camera understand that. 

BALDWIN: I got you. Jim Acosta, you’re a White House correspondent and you want to cover the White House. 

ACOSTA:: Exactly. It would be nice. 

BALDWIN: I understand why you're irked. Jim, don't move. Keep asking those questions.

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