Acosta Lashes Out at Trump, Blames Conservative Media for False Portrayal of Him

Receiving a raucous hero’s welcome reserved for far-left politicians, CNN’s Jim Acosta flaunted Jim Acosta on the Wednesday edition of CBS’s The Late Show by reliving his August 2 duel with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, claiming he’s a fact-checker, blaming “conservative outlets” and “websites” for “twist[ing] and warp[ing]” their views of him, and using an either or fallacy to justify his chicanery.

Acosta came ready to showered with love and emerged from backstage rocking red, white, and blue American flag socks that he joked were “from the enemy of the people collection.” 

 

 

Host Stephen Colbert aired part of his initial question from August 2 to Sanders (which received One Direction concert-like shrieks from the audience) and Acosta bemoaned how Sanders “went through a litany of complaints that she had about the way she’s been treated” instead of stating that the media are not the enemies of the people. She mentioned needing Secret Service protection, but facts are stubborn, Jim.

Colbert next asked why Acosta has “gotten singled out by the President” and if he’s “an outlier” in being so bombastic and forceful or instead saying what everyone else won’t. 

“Haha, you know, no. You know, we’re all fed up with the treatment that we're receiving. And I'm not the only one to speak out about this,” Acosta smugly replied.

Asked to elaborate, Acosta uncorked a mini-stump speech (click “expand” for more):

This was going on during the campaign. He referred to us as the disgusting news media, the dishonest news media, liar, scum and thieves and so on. And then at that infamous press conference, January 11 of 2017, nine days before he became President of the United States, he would not take a question from me from CNN about the dossier and about this intelligence assessment that the intelligence community was giving to the incoming President that you might be compromised with this information that the Russians have. And he would not take the question, and he said: “You're fake news.” And to me, when you insult our news organization, when you call us fake news, the way I look at it, hey, that's calling on me for a question. The same thing happened in Britain a few weeks ago when he called us fake news at a news conference with the British Prime Minister right in front of us. He calls us fake news, refers to CNN as fake news. I look at that as he's calling on me for a question. 

Acosta chalked up Trump’s dislike of CNN to January 2017 before the Inauguration when the network (along with others like BuzzFeed) first made public the existence of the Steele Dossier. But let’s be real here. That could be part of the reasoning, but the arrogance of CNN and its insistence that it only favors the truth (and not the Resistance) is a more realistic one.

Acting as though we’re living through the end times, Acosta fretted that “these are tough times” so “tough questions” must “be asked” and “I don't think we do ourselves any good, Stephen, if we shy away from these hard questions and, you know, my goodness, the way I look at it is — and this is the debate I have with my fellow journalists when we talk about this — what if we just did nothing?”

Jeez. This guy really does think he’s Captain America squaring off against Thanos in Infinity War.

After a nonsensical diversion to painting the media as merely fact-checkers and not spin artists, Acosta concluded with a riff on the July 31 Trump rally (which, thankfully, didn’t include any melodramatic lines about flirting with death).

He also sought to blame conservative media and websites (which, one could assume included NewsBusters) for giving people a false understanding of Acosta and his colleagues (click “expand” for more):

And they’ll say: “Well, do you like the President?” And I’ll say: "That's not really relevant whether I like the President or not. I don’t have to like the President of the United States. He doesn't have to like me. We all have jobs to do.” And as you talk to these folks, they sort of down, but my sense of it, Stephen is — is that a lot of these folks — they get their impression of what we do by watching other conservative outlets, they look at other conservative websites. And these folks are focused on the coverage of the President's behavior more so than they are the President’s behavior and to me, you know, I think that the President's behavior is more newsworthy than our coverage. But a lot of these folks out there — they're getting their — their sense of what we do twisted and warped by some people out there who just want to do the President's bidding.

Colbert concluded with a great question on whether he fears journalists have become “the story when that’s not really the goal of your journalism,” but it was here that Acosta launched in a ludicrous either or fallacy about being the story versus standing up for what’s right.

Behold the utter stupidity in this answer because it’s hard to summarize all the nonsense (click “expand” for more):

ACOSTA: Right, and we're not supposed to be the story. You know, that’s — that's not why I'm out there. You know, I get accused of that from time to time and my attitude is — listen. I'm allowed to care about this country just as much as anybody else and — 

COLBERT: Look at the socks. 

ACOSTA: — look at the socks. And if you think that, you know, you can take children away from their parents on the border and put them in cages, if you think you can demonize immigrants and call them rapists and criminals, if you think that you can distort the sense of reality that we all have on a daily basis by telling lie after and falsehood after falsehood and not face any hardest questions, then I think you're just not living in the same United States of America that I live in. 

As NewsBusters readers know, CNN and liberal media bias writ large goes far beyond this notion of fact-checking. 

Just look at CNN’s coverage from Don Lemon to Brian Stelter insisting that the President’s mentally ill or Acosta quipping that journalists should protest Trump outside the White House. The list goes on and on, but the point remains that Acosta’s narcissism and CNN’s haughtiness is clear from the naked eye and it’s safe to say most CNNers know it too.

To see the relevant transcript from CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on August 7, click “expand.”

CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
August 7, 2018
11:58 p.m. Eastern

STEPHEN COLBERT: Folks, the President calls my first guest tonight “a real beauty,” among other things. Please welcome the chief White House correspondent for CNN, Jim Acosta! [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

JIM ACOSTA: Alright. 

COLBERT: Can I see your socks? Can I see your socks.

ACOSTA: There you go. 

COLBERT: Red, white, and blue. Can we get a shot of those? Red, white, and blue socks there? 

ACOSTA: From the — from the enemy of the people collection. 

COLBERT: Of course, of course. Well, may long may your ankles wave.

ACOSTA: Thank you.

COLBERT: Now, as I said in your little introduction there, you're the chief White House correspondent for CNN. At last press briefing — I think this was the last one before they went on vacation, you asked this of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

ACOSTA [at the WH Press Briefing. 08/02/18]: All the people around the world are watching what you're saying, Sarah, and the White House for the United states of America — the President of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the people. His own daughter acknowledges that and all I'm asking is for you, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

COLBERT: Why — people seem to — 

ACOSTA: It's not a big deal, right? Just say, you know, we're not the enemy of the people, you know.

COLBERT: So, what did she eventually say to you? Did she ever say: “Yeah, you’re right. You're not.” 

ACOSTA: She went through a litany of complaints that she had about the way she’s been treated and she talked about the White House correspondents' dinner where comedian Michelle Wolf made some unflattering comments about her. I said: “Hey, you know, listen, I'm sorry that you’ve been put through the meat grinder. We all get through the meat grinder in this town, but at the end of the day, you shouldn't be referring to journalists as the enemy of the people. We're not the enemy of the people. [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] 

COLBERT: You've gotten — you've gotten singled out by the President quite specifically in his disdain for you for CNN. And you've become — you've gotten some notoriety for pushing back in the way that you have. Are you an outlier or are you merely saying the things that everyone in the press corps is saying but just not in front of a camera? 

ACOSTA: Haha, you know, no. You know, we’re all fed up with the treatment that we're receiving. And I'm not the only one to speak out about this. You know, lis ---

COLBERT: But you're famous for it because you particularly get pick on by him and particularly push back. 

ACOSTA: --- well, I push back. 

COLBERT: Why do you think you have that relationship where him? 

ACOSTA: I mean, listen, here’s — here’s — here's how I describe it. This was going on during the campaign. He referred to us as the disgusting news media, the dishonest news media, liar, scum and thieves and so on. And then at that infamous press conference, January 11 of 2017, nine days before he became President of the United States, he would not take a question from me from CNN about the dossier and about this intelligence assessment that the intelligence community was giving to the incoming President that you might be compromised with this information that the Russians have. And he would not take the question, and he said: “You're fake news.” And to me, when you insult our news organization, when you call us fake news, the way I look at it, hey, that's calling on me for a question. The same thing happened in Britain a few weeks ago when he called us fake news at a news conference with the British Prime Minister right in front of us. He calls us fake news, refers to CNN as fake news. I look at that as he's calling on me for a question. 

COLBERT: Why does he — why does he —

ACOSTA: So I am going to push back. 

COLBERT: — why do you think he dislikes CNN? Seems to dislike you more than any other news service? 

ACOSTA: I don’t know.

COLBERT: Is it because you guys —

ACOSTA: We're pretty nice guys. 

COLBERT: — talk about the dossier? 

ACOSTA: Well, there was — there was an exclusive report CNN had at that time on January 11, and that was — that was my mission in life was to go into that press conference and ask a question about that story. But listen, ever since then — and this is what gets under their skin — we have had to be fact checkers in real time. We have had to tell the truth in real time when the President says: “Barack Obama wiretapped me” — [CHEERS AND APPLAUSE] — when he says: “Barack Obama wiretapped me at Trump Tower.” Not true. When he says that “millions of people — undocumented people voted in the election and that’s why I lost the popular vote,” that's not true. You know, his political career built — the foundation of his political career was built on a lie that Barack Obama was not born in this country. And so, listen, you know these are tough times. There are some tough questions to be asked. But I don't — I don't think we do ourselves any good, Stephen, if we shy away from these hard questions. And, you know, my goodness, the way I look at it is — and this is the debate I have with my fellow journalists when we talk about this — what if we just did nothing? Do we just sit back and do nothing in the face of that? 

COLBERT: Well, that's — that’s akin to the question I wanted to ask as a follow-up, which is I believe you shouldn't do nothing. I believe in fact checking. I believe in facts. I think there is an objective reality, but —

ACOSTA: Yeah.

COLBERT: It’s where I live. 

ACOSTA: It’s a good place to be. 

COLBERT: Let's give some examples of, like, fact-checking the President and you tell me what effect you think it might have. Last week, he said that U.S. Steel, because of his tariff, is opening six shuttered steel plants. And people said that's not actually happening. And he goes: “It's seven now. They're opening seven.” And then U.S. Steel said: “We’re not. We're opening one blast furnace in a plant that had been turned off. We're refiring one blast furnace.” And he goes: “It's eight now, they're doing eight now.” So but — that is a demonstrable lie.

ACOSTA: Yes. 

COLBERT: And — and a big one, actually —

ACOSTA: It is big.

COLBERT: — that the company itself says it's not true and you guys report that it's not true.

ACOSTA: Right.

COLBERT: What do you imagine the effect of that is? 

ACOSTA: Well —

COLBERT: Because for any other president, it would be absolutely destructive.

ACOSTA: It is absolutely destructive when the President does that and that is why, you know, I, along with many of my colleagues in the White House press corps — it's not just me, a lot of us do this — you know, we — we push back on these falsehoods on a daily basis, and this is why there are a lot of folks who support the President are very upset with us right now because they take that in and they see it as we're just bashing the President all day long. I mean, listen. Are we supposed to do the news and not fact-check the President when he is obviously just telling whoppers one after another. I mean, I was the rally in Tampa the other night and he said not only are there fake news, there are — there’s fake polls. And, you know, almost in the same breath, he says: “By the way, a poll just came out and says I'm the most popular Republican president of all time.” [LAUGHTER] Okay, if the polls are fake, how can you then say in the next second say: “By the way, I’ve got this poll that says I'm the most popular, maybe even more popular than Abraham Lincoln.” [LAUGHTER] When polls didn't exist. That was the other part. I was like, well they didn’t have polls back then as far as I know.

COLBERT: Yeah. 

ACOSTA: There might have been an antiquated way they — you know — some straws.

COLBERT: It was called a Kentucky poll splitter.

ACOSTA: I think there was. Yeah. That’s what it was. Yes. But you know, listen. I —

COLBERT: Do you lose heart because —

ACOSTA: No. 

COLBERT: — your job is to — I'm not going to tell you your job — but I imagine the job of the press is to —

ACOSTA: We do.

COLBERT: — is to hold people in power to account for the things that they say and do and nothing that he says or does seems to have any effect on the people who support him. 

ACOSTA: That is a difficult problem and I was at this rally in Tampa last week and, you know, you might have seen some of the video that people at the rally were —

COLBERT: We actually have it. Can we show this real quick? This is — this is you in Tampa.

[CROWD SHOUTING AT TRUMP RALLY, ONE WOMAN GIVES HIM THE FINGER]

[LAUGHTER]

ACOSTA: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know her. I don't know why she did, that but, you know — [LAUGHTER]

COLBERT: She’s some –

ACOSTA: She seems —

COLBERT: She’s somebody’s little girl. 

ACOSTA: She is. 

COLBERT: She’s somebody’s little girl. 

ACOSTA: She seems very nice. We went out for a beer late. It was great — no. I mean, listen, you know, when I — I talk — I talked to these folks. I was at that rally last week and what was, you know, I stepped down from the risers that we stand on, and I went down and I talked to a lot of these folks and they’ll say things like —

COLBERT: Is this one?

ACOSTA: Yeah. There’s a — yeah.

COLBERT: Here are you. Here are you taking selfies with them. 

ACOSTA: There's that. 

COLBERT: Yeah.

ACOSTA: A lot of these folks, they're well-intentioned. You know, they care about their country. I totally understand that. They really like this President but they'll ask me: “Why don't you report the good things that he does” Well, I said: “You know, listen. We just talked about the jobs numbers last Friday. He had jobs numbers last Friday.” We — and they say: “Oh, okay” And they’ll say: “Well, do you like the President?” And I’ll say: "That's not really relevant whether I like the President or not. I don’t have to like the President of the United States. He doesn't have to like me. We all have jobs to do.” And as you talk to these folks, they sort of down, but my sense of it, Stephen is — is that a lot of these folks — they get their impression of what we do by watching other conservative outlets, they look at other conservative websites. And these folks are focused on the coverage of the President's behavior more so than they are the President’s behavior and to me, you know, I think that the President's behavior is more newsworthy than our coverage. But a lot of these folks out there — they're getting their — their sense of what we do twisted and warped by some people out there who just want to do the President's bidding. 

COLBERT: Do you worry that the President points at y’all so much and that there's a natural need to respond as a human being that you end up being the story when that's not really the goal of your journalism?

ACOSTA: Right, and we're not supposed to be the story. You know, that’s — that's not why I'm out there. You know, I get accused of that from time to time and my attitude is — listen. I'm allowed to care about this country just as much as anybody else and — 

COLBERT: Look at the socks. 

ACOSTA: — look at the socks. And if you think that, you know, you can take children away from their parents on the border and put them in cages, if you think you can demonize immigrants and call them rapists and criminals, if you think that you can distort the sense of reality that we all have on a daily basis by telling lie after and falsehood after falsehood and not face any hardest questions, then I think you're just not living in the same United States of America that I live in. 

COLBERT: I thought you were going to say “then you might be Donald Trump.”

ACOSTA: Well, there is that. 

COLBERT: Thank you.

ACOSTA: You got it. Thank you, Stephen.

COLBERT: CNN’s Jim Acosta, everybody


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