CNN Gives Acosta Hero’s Welcome After Losing WH Credentials; ‘They’re Trying to...Shut Us Down’

Just over an hour after CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta had his White House credentials suspended in light of his latest act of showboating, AC360 gave him a hero’s welcome while CNN argued in a statement that “this unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy” while Acosta asserted that “they’re trying to — to shut us down.”

Host Anderson Cooper welcomed Acosta on as the two sat inside CNN’s D.C. bureau and so Acosta first gave his account of when he tried to return to the White House grounds for a live shot slated for this same program.

 

 

Acosta explained that “the Secret Service came out and informed me that my press credentials were being, I guess, revoked temporarily, suspended, and the Secret Service officer came over to me and asked me to hand over my credential” that he had held “for five years.”

With a smirk of contentment on Acosta’s face, Cooper then read through tweets from The New York Times’s Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman plus Reuters’s Jeff Mason and then this sanctimonious statement from CNN:

The White House announced tonight that it has revoked the press pass of CNN’s White House chief correspondent Jim Acosta. It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today's press conference. In an explanation, Press Secretary Sanders lied. She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.

Upon being asked if he had “anything else...to add,” Acosta couldn’t help but seize the baton and fret that he was only “trying to ask a question of the President at this press conference and it was obviously a question they didn't like” concerning “his racist ad on the caravan.”

Acosta spun his grandstanding as merely “trying to hang onto the microphone so I could continue to ask the President questions.” Cue the eye rolls. 

He then added this apocalyptic language about the White House wanting to stifle journalists:

Obviously, I — you know, I didn't put my hands on her or touch her as they are alleging and it's just unfortunate that the White House is saying this. You know, we all try to be professionals over there and I think I handled myself professionally and I appreciate all the comments from my colleagues. I do think, Anderson, that this is a test for all of us. I do think they’re trying to — to shut us down to some extent inside the White House press corps, and to some extent, I think they're trying to send a message to our colleagues. 

After telling Cooper that he had no advance warning, Acosta concluded with even more smugness: “So it was a pretty surreal experience. I mean, I never thought in this country that I wouldn't be able to go and cover the President of the United States simply because I was trying to ask a question.”

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the White House’s decision, The Week’s Damon Linker perhaps said it best when he succinctly tweeted, “American democracy will survive Jim Acosta losing his WH hard pass.”

And it should be noted that it’s often the same people who clash with either the President, Sanders, or other members of the administration. In no particular order, Jim Acosta, April Ryan, Brian Karem, Peter Alexander, and Cecilia Vega are a few of the repeat offenders. 

In turn, that leaves dozens of journalists left in the White House press corps who, if readers check out our White House Press Briefing tag, have little to no problem with asking tough but fair questions of this administration. Put simply, Acosta is largely incapable of doing that without making himself the story.

To see the relevant transcript from CNN’s AC360 on November 7, click “expand.”

CNN’s AC360
November 7, 2018
8:56 p.m. Eastern

ANDERSON COOPER:The White House is suspending CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta's press pass until further notice. The word came down hours after he asked the President questions at the news conference this afternoon. Jim joins us now. So take us through what's going on. 

JIM ACOSTA: Yeah. I went back to the White House actually to do a live shot for your program just before 8:00 and when I arrived at the gate, the Secret Service came out and informed me that my press credentials were being, I guess, revoked temporarily, suspended, and the Secret Service officer came over to me and asked me to hand over my credential and I did and I told them, I said: “Listen, I know you're a professional, you're just doing your job and thanks for your service.”  Handed him my credential I've had for five years. 

COOPER: I want to read reaction from a few of your colleagues covering the White House. Jeff Mason from Reuters just tweeted: “I was seated next to Acosta  at today’s press conference and did not witness him “placing his hands” on the young intern, as the White House alleges. He held on to the microphone as she reached for it.” Peter Baker from The New York Times: “False predicate to punish a reporter. This is what the president wants. If he really thought @acosta was unfair, then why did he call on him? Because he wants the confrontation.” And Maggie Haberman tweeting: “Acosta, who the White House is alleging ‘placed his hands’ on the young intern, said, ‘Pardon me, ma’am’ as he tried to ask his question.” I also want to read a statement that CNN has just released. The statement reads: “The White House announced tonight that it has revoked the press pass of CNN’s White House chief correspondent Jim Acosta. It was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today's press conference. In an explanation, Press Secretary Sanders lied. She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.” Anything else you want to add? 

ACOSTA: Well, you know, I was trying to ask a question of the President at this press conference and it was obviously a question they didn't like. It was about his racist ad on the caravan that they were running before the midterms and as you can see in the video, the intern came up to me, they are describing her as an intern. I don't really know who she is, and attempted to take the microphone away from me. All I can say at that point is that I was trying to hang onto the microphone so I could continue to ask the President questions. Obviously, I — you know, I didn't put my hands on her or touch her as they are alleging and it's just unfortunate that the White House is saying this. You know, we all try to be professionals over there and I think I handled myself professionally and I appreciate all the comments from my colleagues. I do think, Anderson, that this is a test for all of us. I do think they’re trying to — to shut us down to some extent inside the White House press corps, and to some extent, I think they're trying to send a message to our colleagues. 

COOPER: And you had no advance warning, this was simply when you got to the White House to go do a live shot. You were just informed by Secret Service? 

ACOSTA: Yeah, I saw the statement on my phone from Sarah Sanders that my press credentials were being revoked. I thought, well, I'd get in the White House for a live shot on your show and at that point, I was blocked from entering the facility. As a matter of fact, there was an officer who stood in front of the doorway to the security booth that I've gone through every day for the last, every working day that I come to the White House for the last five years. So it was a pretty surreal experience. I mean, I never thought in this country that I wouldn't be able to go and cover the President of the United States simply because I was trying to ask a question. 

COOPER: Well, Jim Acosta. We’ll stay on it. See what happens. Thank you very much.

ACOSTA: Thank you. 

COOPER: Appreciate it.

ACOSTA: Appreciate it.


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