BEHOLD the Worst Quotes from Jim Acosta’s Narcissistic Book of Hogwash

June 14th, 2019 2:16 PM

CNN chief White House correspondent and cartoonishly self-centered Jim Acosta released on Tuesday his 354-page work of narcissism, The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America. And, folks, it’s everything you thought it would be and then some. 

From defending his showboating to admitting that he’s at times belligerent on purpose to conceding that fellow journalists loathe him, Acosta’s conceited argle bargle showcased Acosta at its worst and the dangers of the liberal media’s belief that the First Amendment only concerns them, neglecting how it also gives Americans the right to chant “CNN sucks.”

So, without any further adieu, check out this Notable Quotable-style package of quotes. And with 96 Post-It notes made in the book obtained by NewsBusters, the following only represents a sampling of the nonsense.

In other words, you’re welcome, America.

College Students ‘Would Get the Unvarnished Truth’ on Trump; ‘No Time to Back Down’

I ripped up my original speech for the folks at San Jose State and started from scratch. The students....would get the unvarnished truth about what I had been witnessing during my time covering Trump. I was afraid the president, I later told the crowd, was putting our lives in danger. But this was no time to back down. The truth, I argued, was bigger than a president who is acting like a bully. We were in a fight for the truth, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher. (Page 2)

Who Is this Guy? Beto? ‘I Know’ My ‘Sacrifice Will Be Worth It’

In the decades to come, what in the world will we put in our history books to explain what has happened to America? The answer: That depends on what we do right now. Because it’s all riding on us. I have seen my life turned upside down covering Trump. His attacks on me and my colleagues, dedicated and talented journalists, have real-life consequences. My family and friends worry about my safety. I hope at the end of the day the sacrifice will be worth it. No. I know it will be. (Page 7)

Jim Thinks America Stands with Him; Trump ‘Required a Different Kind of Playbook’

The American public seemed to agree. Ever since that moment at the press conference, people were walking up to me to thank me—at the airport, at the train station, at the grocery story. Ladies were applauding me at the hair salon. Strangers on the street were stopping me to ask for a selfie. A neighbor put a bottle of bourbon in my mailbox. That was not the last bottle sent to me, either. I suddenly had more than I could drink, in fact. Here’s what I felt then, and feel even more strongly today: I don’t believe reporters are supposed to be the story. That’s how I was trained. But at that press conference, I had faced a choice: Do we just absorb Trump’s attacks? Or do we push back and stand up for ourselves? It’s a difficult decision, and one that members of the press confronted repeatedly during Trump’s first two years in office. In my view, Trump represented a new kind of president, one that required a different kind of playbook for journalists. (Pages 36-37)

‘Disturbing’ People at the CIA Would Clap for Trump!

With the public split on its new president, Trump was doubling down on his attacks on the news media at a sacred site—a spot where CIA officers are memorialized for their sacrifices to their country, for defending the same democracy that was supposed to protect a strong, free press in America. To the amazement of many in the room, and certainly to many around the world, there was some applause for Trump’s latest broadside against journalists. Like so many episodes to come in this new administration, it was at once both stunning and disturbing. (Page 43)

Spicer’s Crowd Statement, Aides Yelling Were ‘The Stuff of Despots and Dictators’ Like China

Standing at lectern and brazenly lying to the press is the stuff of despots and dictators. Honestly, it sounded more like something that would have happened back in my dad’s native country of Cuba. (Page 145)


This time, however, a few of Trump’s aides stood right in front of me and began shouting in my face to drown me out. It was an absurd scene straight out of a totalitarian country like China, not the United States. (Page 186)

Immigration Policies Gave Him ‘Tremendous Sadness’; Hard to ‘Keep My Emotions in Check’

As with Trump’s attacks on the press, immigration was an issue that touched my sense of self as a journalist and an American. I’m a reporter, of course, but I’m an American first, and it was impossible to see these events unfolding without feeling tremendous sadness and concern. (Page 54)


Now a shameful stain on U.S. history, Trump’s family-separation policy resulted in the splitting up of more than two thousand children and their migrant parents....Thinking about my own father’s story of coming to America as a Cuban refugee, it was difficult to keep my emotions in check as I considered the human costs of such a grotesque policy. (Pages 196-197)

Acosta Took the Bait Because Trump Couldn’t ‘Go Unchallenged’

Now, up until this point, a chorus of critics at a variety of news outlets had advised againt my “taking the bait” from the president and responding to his “fake news” attacks. Trump, they argued, was luring the press into a trap. He wanted to troll and trigger outraged journalists, provoking them into a fight, one that he would always win, these critics complained. In my view, the Monday-morning quarterbacks were wrong. Trump had crossed a clear, bright line. This was un-American. This should not go unchallenged. (Page 75)

Showboating ‘Is the Sound That a Healthy, Functioning Democracy Makes’

When we interrupt or try to poke at certain vulnerabilities in a press secretary’s argument, it’s for the purpose of ferreting out information that may well be vital to the American people. When journalists dig and talk to sources, who in some cases will disclose what they know only anonymously, it’s not for the purpose of behaving as political activists, as so many critics have alleged. It’s to find the truth. So, call me a showboater or a grandstander or “fake news.” I will go to my grave convinced deep down in my bones that journalists are performing a public service for the good of the country. The country is better off with reporters in the White House Briefing Room asking the hard questions, even if we sometimes sound a little over the top. That noise is the sound that a healthy, functioning democracy makes. (Page 102)

April Ryan Was ‘My Sister from Another Mister’

One thing that April and I had in common was that Sean was making things person with both of us. To April, I became her “brother from another mother”; April was my “sister from another mister.” She and I had something else in common: we were both beginning to receive death threats, and at levels we had not experienced before. April would later confide that she had the FBI on “speed dial.” (Page 112)

How Old Are You, Jim? ‘If They Can’ Make a Scene, ‘Why Can’t We?’

To make sure Sean got the message that I didn’t appreciate CNN being iced out of briefings, I vented my frustrations on Twitter. Hey, if they can do it, my thought was, why can’t we?....My sense of it was the press secretary should not be able to get away with shutting out an entire news network for an extended time. I continued to take aim at Spicer’s belligerence with some of my own. (Page 121)


But with his DACA tweet, Trump had rolled out his own Easter surprise...After all, it had been his decision to go on the attack on this on Easter Sunday, and our feeling was, If he’s going to relent on an occasion like this, then why should the press? (Page 189)

Jim Tells Colleagues Who Don’t Showboat and Want Objectivity to Shove It

For some reporters, access is more important than solidarity. In the media jungle of Trumpworld, those reporters who stand with the White House instead of their fellow members of the press are often rewarded with scoops. Sad but true. Getting back to Spicer’s draconian decision to ban cameras, this was not targeted retaliation, aimed at one particular news outlet. (Page 125)


Purists in the field of journalism and academics opining from the safety of the classroom can lament the downfall of neutrality. But neutrality for the sake of neutrality doesn’t really serve us in the age of Trump (Page 167)


After Charlottesville, I think more members of the press began a more dogged pursuit of what was right, and that meant telling the truth, as painful as it was. That doesn’t mean that everyone started getting it correct all the time, but reporters grew more comfortable adopting honest assessments of Trump’s worlds and behavior, less fixated on catering to the media referees scoring whether we gave both sides equal time. We don’t exist just to tell the truth. We have to tell the truth, even when it hurts. (Page 168)


It was painfully obvious before I’d ask my question [on June 14, 2018]. But I wanted all of this on record. I wanted it on video. Such words should be captured and memorialized for all eternity. Folks weren’t patting me on the back as I exited the Briefing Room that day, but I wasn’t looking for anybody’s approval. If people think I was showboating or grandstanding in my exchange with Sanders, they can shove it. This was all about preserving a dark chapter in our nation’s history. (Page 293)

Heartened by Supporters Who ‘Believe in an America for All of Us’

My encounters with them have stayed with me. Sounds corny, I know, but they believe in the America I grew up learning about. They believe in the America I believe in, an America for all of us. We are and should always remain a beacon of hope, the brightest light in the universe. (Page 148)

Tea Party Showed ‘Ghosts’ of 20th Century Weren’t ‘Laid to Rest’

I once covered a neo-Nazi march while working at Chicago’s CBS station, WBBM-TV....It was a dying ideology, I thought, these guys hardly warranted the coverage. It was a dying ideology, in my view destined to fade away. But during the Obama administration, it was clear that the ghosts of the twentieth century hadn’t fully been laid to rest. The election of the first African American president gave rise to the Tea Party, the fiscally conservative political movement within the Republican Party. Its members claimed to be devoted solely to the elimination of the national debt and opposed to bailouts handed out during the 2008 financial crisis. How did that work out? Well, as soon as they controlled the White House and Congress, the Republican Party went right back to deficit spending, handing out lavish tax cuts to the rich, just as they had done during the George W. Bush administration. What I witnessed time and again covering Tea Party rallies and marches was an outburst of racist imagery on signs and T-shirts; one sign at a Tea Party march depicted Obama and Pelosi in bed with each other. (Pages 151-152)

He Fights Back Because WH Is Trying to Rhetorically Stab Him

Yes, Trump’s attacks on the press are desienged, for the moment, to elicit a response. And yes, that excites parts of his base. And yes, the Trump people sit back and say, “See? It works.” And yes, some news editors say, “See that’s why we shouldn’t respond.” But Trump’s apologists and propagandists are going to go on the attack and make our lives miserable no matter what we report. That’s what they do. If we tailor our coverage to appease them, we’ve already lost. Their reaction shouldn’t change the essential calculus that attacks on the press, if left unanswered, are just going to get worse. So the question become: do you take the bait or take the knife? More often than not I opt for the bait, which bothers some people—both in the media and in the White House.....As new presidents come along and return to a state of normalcy to dealings with the news media, will there be as great a need to stand up for ourselves? Of course not. Playbooks for individual journalists and news organizations will be adjusted accordingly, as we will no longer be under attack. (Page 159)

Acosta Bashes Conservatives, FNC; Carlson, Hannity Engage in ‘Faux-Macho Man Bullshit’

[Daily Caller, Gateway Pundit, Powerline, Red State] “are all part of the same ultraconservative echo chamber that, for all intents and purposes, serves as Trump’s propaganda machine...These were the same guys who were giddy with fanboy excitement when I pressed Obama on ISIS[.] (Page 193)


Trump had the gall to call Fox News a “real network.” There are some good people at Fox—Shepherd Smith in particular, has been willing to hold Trump’s feet to the fire—but other Fox anchors, such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson have essentially served as propagandists for Trump (Page 238)


After I set foot on the bus, I immediately spotted two of my biggest critics: Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, Trump’s chief propagandists at Fox, were seated on the bus too...After all their attacks on me during they prime-time “state TV” programs. They didn’t say a word to me....Their faux-macho man bullshit, as it turns out, seems to stop at the doors to the Fox News headquarters. (Page 244)

Acosta Claims Sanders Let Michelle Wolf Attacks ‘Affect Her Job’

What’s also alarming is that she was obviously nursing some grudges left over from the WHCA dinner and was letting them affect her job in the Briefing Room. Sarah, it seemed, could dish it out but she couldn’t take it. After all, she’d gone after individual journalists in briefings; she’d called CNN “fake news.” But have a comedian tell a few jokes, and she can’t take the heat. Give me a break. (Pages 270-271)

Partnering with Brinkley to Fearmonger About America’s Future

A free society, I would argue, cannot sustain the collective weight of the kind of abuse we’ve endured without its institutions, and it’s people, undergoing a profound metamorphosis. Across the country, people will have come of age exposed to a dangerous rhetoric that distorts our collective sense of reality and that will have consequences we cannot fully appreciate...”We are in very dangerous waters right now,” Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley told me. “A key part of authoritarianism is to smother a free press,” he continued. “If [Trump] can turn the press into ‘fake news’ and ‘the enemy of the people,’ that really takes away his biggest roadblock to authoritarian government,” he added. (Page 350)

Closing Thoughts: Journalists Defend You Because We Have a ‘Deep Devotion’ to You

Before the sun sets on this democracy—and may that day never come—it must be said that the press is not the enemy. We are defenders of the people. Some of us, not I, have sacrificed everything for this profession, from war zones to, unfortunately, newsrooms. Journalists have done this out of a deep devotion to the people. It is a devotion born out of a love for all people. That is a truth worth defending, as journalists are people too. (Page 354)