CNN -- the network that portrays itself as the bulwark for freedom of the press -- explicitly took the side of a politician railing against a journalist. Because the politician was liberal, and the journalist works for a conservative-owned set of TV stations. The words "Jim Acosta" never crossed their lips.
On Thursday's At This Hour, CNN host Kate Bolduan turned to Dana Bash to analyze House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recently concluded press conference. A year ago, Bash honored Pelosi in an interview as "the original Badass Woman of Washington." They went on defense because Sinclair's James Rosen asked, "Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?" to which Pelosi, in part, angrily shot back, "Don’t mess with me," claiming "I don't hate anyone."
Bash began by explaining that Rosen, "was asking was about the Republican mantra that this is just about Democrats being sore losers after the 2016 election" and the idea that Democrats have been wanting to impeach President Trump since day one.
DANA BASH: Number two, it was the word hate, that set her off, because it feeds into that idea, but also it is a personal thing for her. When she said “don't mess with me”, she said don't mess with me when it comes to the words that you use or that you ascribe to me. And third, not to get too far behind the curtain, but why not, James Rosen used to work for Fox News. He has been somebody who has asked her questions that have really ticked her off before. And so that is a history that can't be overlooked. But, wow, what a moment.
KATE BOLDUAN: But it’s really notable, I'm so glad you're here Dana, because you when you are in the room, this is a weekly press conference, she holds it every week, there is a formality to it, there is a tradition, there is a way that she runs it and how it always goes. If you shout out a question, she is basically not going to call on you. When she takes the last question, she means it and she walks off. The only time I've ever thought that she has stopped to take a question, if it was something funny about a sporting event or some kind of bet that she made with a fellow lawmaker. This was very different and I think it speaks to the enormity of the moment. I really do.
BASH: It absolutely does. She doesn't lose it and I'm not saying that she lost it there. She did that for a reason.
BOLDUAN: Yeah, yeah
BASH: She wanted to be stern. Again, the fact that that particular reporter asked the question is -- that is why she reacted like she did.
The hypocrisy is impossible to miss. If Trump had told Acosta "don't mess with me," Brian Stelter & Co. would pound on their panic buttons about how authoritarianism is on the march. No one would say it's rude for reporters to upset the "formality" and "tradition" of the presidential press conference, and everyone should understand Acosta has "ticked off" the president before.
PS: Don't forget the media is loving the story of allied leaders appearing to mock Trump at the London NATO meeting and Trump getting upset over it, but the under-reported part of that story was that one of Justin Trudeau's complaints was the fact that Trump, the man who allegedly is at war with the press, spends an inordinate amount of time answering questions at press conferences. So he gets slammed for not having enough press conferences, and then slammed for talking too much to the press.