Absurdly Vainglorious Jim Acosta Insists He’s Here to ‘Defend the Truth,’ Shame Republicans

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As first noticed by our friend Ryan Saavedra at the Daily Wire, CNN chief White House correspondent and egotistical high-horseman Jim Acosta gave an interview last week to the Canadian outlet TVO and their show The Agenda to promote his narcissistic bookThe Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America

The half-hour interview crammed in as many displays of snobbish cliches attacking his critics as possible.

Eight minutes in, Acosta defended his childish antics by declaring that maintaining “decorum....at the White House...is a two-way street.” In the case of his November 7 press conference scuffle, he asserted that he behaved as he did so that future journalists wouldn’t be trampled upon and not “to perform for the cameras.”

He added that someone had to stand up to President Trump so that future American journalists can, in essence, have someone to worship as a canary in the coal mine during these supposedly dark times.

 

 

Host Steve Paikin repeatedly praised Acosta and the book, but he did press Acosta when he stated that “[o]ne of the things that I hear frequently is that American reporters....have stopped reporting and they’ve started opining” with an excerpt he read aloud from Acosta’s book sounding like the work of “a columnist as opposed to a reporter.”

Acosta began by refuting the notion that journalists are “not referees” (despite what Chuck Todd claims) and they aren’t there to “just report the news, but defend the truth.”

Yuck. Here again, was another example of a journalist wrapping themselves in the First Amendment as if it only applies to the press instead of everyone.

He then unwound a long diatribe worshipping at the feet of CBS’s Walter Cronkite and his famed Vietnam commentary (click “expand”):

Now, are just supposed to let these falsehoods, half-truths, lies, are we supposed to let those stand without those being challenged or corrected? No. We have to correct the record. We have to stand up for the truth. Same goes for what has happened over the last couple of years. What has happened over the last couple of years? We’ve seen the President time and time again use the kind of language that is not becoming of a President of the United States and the Republican Party has largely sat on the sidelines and not really challenged that. I think that has to be called out. One of the things that I bring up in the book and you’ll recall this because — thank you for reading it — you know, Walter Cronkite of CBS News, the legendary CBS newsman, he was once referred to as the most trusted man in America, one of the things that Walter Cronkite during the Vietnam War was he was watching these battlefield reports come in from his correspondents and he said, you know what? This is serious enough where I need to go over there and take a pulse of what’s happening over in Vietnam. Walter Cronkite came back and said the war in Vietnam cannot be won, it’s likely going to end in a stalemate and Lyndon Johnson famously said if I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America. Now, was Walter Cronkite supposed to go over to Vietnam and come back and say, well, on the one hand, things aren’t going very well in Vietnam, but on the other hand, maybe the United States can pull things out. No, Walter Cronkite made an observation based on his reporting and as uncomfortable and as difficult as it sounded to the American people, it was a necessary thing to do. 

Here would be some fun questions to ask: So are you then arguing for a government of, by, and for the news media? Or, what about a government in which journalists determine what the people can and can’t do with their lives? And how about you just run yourself?

After defending the coverage Trump received after Charlottesville and Helsinki, Acosta flaunted himself by stating, while people might not like journalists, they should get over it because “our job as journalists is to give the American people not just the news, but the truth and the hard truths and the ugly truths.”

He also claimed that journalists face “a tricky balancing act” in their reporting because he and his comrades been “slammed” by “folks on the left” for not sufficiently calling Trump a liar. 

Poor, poor Jim.

Acosta also framed the right (or a right that he doesn’t approve of) as a global threat that must be stopped, lumping them in with what appear to be anti-democratic forces (click “expand”):

I don’t think we serve ourselves very well by sticking our hands in the sand or tip-toeing through the tulips. We can’t whistle past the graveyard when it comes to our democracy. We have to call things as we see them and I think one of the things that — that perhaps might be a silver lining in all of this is that this exercise that we’re going through right now — and sometimes a painful exercise — it is forcing us to confront what we need to do as journalists and as citizens who care about democratic freedoms, not just here in the United States, but in much of the western world. You’re seeing a challenge to democracy crop up across western Europe that’s popping up in countries across western Europe where you see this ultra-nationalist and ultra-conservative movements cropping up. What are you supposed to do when some of those movements demonize immigrants or peddle falsehoods? I think if we care about the way of life that we have right now in these countries, we’ve got to get tough and we’ve got to make sure that lies are called lies and falsehoods are corrected. And if those elected leaders don’t, you know, want to stick to the truth, then they need to be called out for it.

Paikin closed by softball lamenting how “otherwise sensible people” have “crumble[d] in [Trump’s] presence,” which allowed Acosta to huff that he longs for a “profile in courage” from Republicans by standing up against Trump during the Senate trial. 

Implicitly, Acosta meant that he’s hoping a Republican decides to voice support for the overthrow of the Trump administration.

Acting as though he truly cares about the GOP, Acosta bemoaned how the GOP was “no longer the party of Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower and Abraham Lincoln” but the party of Trump, which will lead to those who don’t resist being frowned upon by history.

So, he ended with a fallacy in which you’re either with Jim Acosta and the rest of the media symbolizing American greatness or you stand with authoritarianism, racism, xenophobia, and will be seen as purveyors of hate for not joining the resistance (click “expand”):

They are the party of President Trump. They are the party of Donald Trump and we’re now about to find out in real time, in living color, what that delivers onto the American people at the end of all of this. My sense of it is in five, ten, 15 years from now when we look back on this period in our history, there’s going to be a lot of regrets, not just on the Republican side but for everybody because you can’t have a President of the United States conducting himself, calling the press the enemy of the people, demonizing immigrants, cozying up to dictators in the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un and, at the end of the day, everything works out just fine and dandy. My sense of history and that’s what I try to talk about in this book is that all of us here in the United States and our neighbors in Canada, our friends around the world, we have to think deeply about the kind of political culture that we want to hand off to the next generation. Is this the kind of way of life that we want for the next generation, not just here in the United States, but around the world. My sense of it is, having looked at what we’ve been going through these last few years is that we’ve got a lot of deep thinking to do as we move forward.

There’s far, far more nonsense from throughout the 31-minute YouTube clip, so please be sure to check out the transcript below. Click “expand” to read.

TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin
November 1, 2019
8:28 mark

ACOSTA [asked if he thought he overstepped in post-midterm presser]: Well, I know my friends in Canada are very polite and so perhaps there are going to be some folks on your side of the border who may take issue with what I did. My sense of it is that, you know, the President of the United States should not be berating and insulting and attacking reporters. The sense of decorum that we should have at the White House, that is a two-way street. And you know, what would the message had been had I allowed the President to just, you know, beat up on me that day and allowed the intern to rip away my microphone? What would have been the conversation after all of that? You know, my sense of it is that there are some folks out here in the United States who are watching all of this play out who want to see the reporters stand up for themselves and stand their ground when they’re in a situation like that. I wasn’t trying to perform for the cameras or, you know, get more Twitter followers or anything like that. I was just trying to do my job and my sense of it is that, you know, when we look at this period five, ten, 15 years from now, yes that video is not going to look all that great, I suppose, down the road. It will always be sort of an intense thing to look at, but I hope that, you know, some of the viewers out there will take away from that episode that — that reporters need to be able to do their jobs and they should be able to do their jobs without being attacked by the leader of the free world, by the most powerful person in the world. You know, what kind of message are we sending to our kids here in the United States and other countries that care about democracy when the President behaves in that way? You know, if I had to do it all over again, I think I would do it the exact same way. You know, we have to stand — stand up for ourselves and stand our ground when we’re being attacked.

(....)

14:35 mark

STEVE PAIKIN: One of the things that I hear frequently is that American reporters — they don’t just talk about you, they talk about many people who cover the White House — American reporters have — have stopped reporting and they’ve started opining. And to that end, I want to a little excerpt from your book and then get you to opine on the excerpt. Here we go: [Most] Republican outside the administration, nearly united in their cowardice, stood firm in their refusal to confront the president. This sad chapter only reinforced the recognition that the Republican Party, the part of Lincoln, had become Trump’s latest real estate acquisition.” Now, again, those sound like the words of a columnist as opposed to a reporter. Do you want to help us here distinguish between what you’re trying to — what you’re trying to do in that circumstance?

ACOSTA: Well, you know, listen. I think one of the things that we have to do as journalists and you know, we’re not referees in a football game. We’re journalists and, you know, part of what we’re here to do is not just report the news but defend the truth and take for example the President’s tendency to be very dishonest with the American people. Washington Post has determined over the last couple years of this administration since Donald Trump came into office that he’s uttered some 13,000 false or misleading statements since coming into office. Now, are just supposed to let these falsehoods, half-truths, lies, are we supposed to let those stand without those being challenged or corrected? No. We have to correct the record. We have to stand up for the truth. Same goes for what has happened over the last couple of years. What has happened over the last couple of years? We’ve seen the President time and time again use the kind of language that is not becoming of a President of the United States and the Republican Party has largely sat on the sidelines and not really challenged that. I think that has to be called out. One of the things that I bring up in the book and you’ll recall this because — thank you for reading it — you know, Walter Cronkite of CBS News, the legendary CBS newsman, he was once referred to as the most trusted man in America, one of the things that Walter Cronkite during the Vietnam War was he was watching these battlefield reports come in from his correspondents and he said, you know what? This is serious enough where I need to go over there and take a pulse of what’s happening over in Vietnam. Walter Cronkite came back and said the war in Vietnam cannot be won, it’s likely going to end in a stalemate and Lyndon Johnson famously said if I’ve lost Walter Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America. Now, was Walter Cronkite supposed to go over to Vietnam and come back and say, well, on the one hand, things aren’t going very well in Vietnam, but on the other hand, maybe the United States can pull things out. No, Walter Cronkite made an observation based on his reporting and as uncomfortable and as difficult as it sounded to the American people, it was a necessary thing to do. 

And I think when it comes to, you know, the situation in Charlottesville, the President, you know, said that there were very fine people on both sides. You know, when it comes to dealing with white supremacists violence in a major American city, the President of the United States needs to get that right the first time. That didn’t happen in Charlottesville. When it comes to the Presidents performance in Helsinki, the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin, he took the word over the Russian president over his own intelligence community when it comes to Russian meddling in the 2016 election. What was the United States press corps supposed to do at that point? Was it supposed to say, well, on the one hand, Donald Trump did okay out there, but on the other hand, maybe he could have had a better day. No. What you saw from the United States press corps and my colleague Anderson Cooper, I think, hit the nail on the head that it was a disgraceful moment for the President of the United States. Are we supposed to pull our punches because people on the right beat us up for telling the American people the truth? No. So, yes, I mean, I get it that it is uncomfortable to watch at times and perhaps there are folks at home who don’t like what we have to say, but our job as journalists is to give the American people not just the news, but the truth and the hard truths and the ugly truths and I can’t imagine us doing it any other way, especially right now with what’s happening in this country.

PAIKIN: No, I say frequently on this program that what we deal — we deal in the world of empirically provable facts here and I think it’s an empirically provable fact that this President has – has prevaricated more than any other in our lifetimes that — 

ACOSTA: Even there, if you don’t mind me interrupting — 

PAIKIN: — yeah?

ACOSTA: — even there, you choose the word prevaricated — 

PAIKIN: Well, that’s what I wanted to pick up on.

ACOSTA: — Canadians are a very polite bunch and I — that’s what I love about ya. But —

PAIKIN: Can I pick up on that? Let me pick up on that.

ACOSTA: — well, I would say we get slammed — we get slammed here in the United States for not using the word lie. There are folks on the left who say, why don’t you say the word lie? And so we’re getting hit from all sides and it is a tricky balancing act. But please — please, I’ll let you get back to your question, I’m sorry. 

PAIKIN: No, you — you’ve actually — that’s exactly where I wanted to go. I still feel very uncomfortable calling anybody a liar, even when I know — 

ACOSTA: Me too.

PAIKIN: — that they are lying —

ACOSTA: Right

PAIKIN: — but I wonder can you go through the thought process what you went through before — cause we do use all sorts of synonyms besides saying the word liar to describe what comes out of the President’s mouth. How and when did you did you come to the conclusion that, yes, he knowingly put out false information and therefore I’m on solid ground to call him a liar? 

ACOSTA: And, again, you know, I don’t do it every time. You know, by and large, I don’t do it. You know, on many of my pieces that we air on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, for example, I’ll say but that’s not true. That’s not true. The President said this, but that’s not true and we don’t say he’s a liar. It is a very difficult thing, but I think when you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve said approximately 13,000 false or misleading things since coming into office, that on occasion, you are lying and that makes you a liar and I, you know, I hate to say that because I wasn’t raised to just go around calling people liars and it is a difficult thing. But you know, this is part of the challenge in covering this administration and in covering this President. You know, it’s hard to stay in your lane as a straight news reporter when the President of the United States is running you off the road and one of the things that we’re dealing with on a daily basis is that there’s almost a fire hose of falsehoods being aimed in our faces and so, you know, and again, we get back to that question of what would you do? Do you say — you know, do you just let these things be unchallenged without correcting the record? Or do you occasionally have to point out, listen, this was a falsehood and this is a falsehood that he has said so many times and the record has been corrected so many times he must be aware that it’s a lie.

(....)

22:02 mark

ACOSTA: I don’t think we serve ourselves very well by sticking our hands in the sand or tip-toeing through the tulips. We can’t whistle past the graveyard when it comes to our democracy. We have to call things as we see them and I think one of the things that — that perhaps might be a silver lining in all of this is that this exercise that we’re going through right now — and sometimes a painful exercise — it is forcing us to confront what we need to do as journalists and as citizens who care about democratic freedoms, not just here in the United States, but in much of the western world. You’re seeing a challenge to democracy crop up across western Europe that’s popping up in countries across western Europe where you see this ultra-nationalist and ultra-conservative movements cropping up. What are you supposed to do when some of those movements demonize immigrants or peddle falsehoods? I think if we care about the way of life that we have right now in these countries, we’ve got to get tough and we’ve got to make sure that lies are called lies and falsehoods are corrected. And if those elected leaders don’t, you know, want to stick to the truth, then they need to be called out for it.

(....)

27:37 mark

PAIKIN: And I’m trying to understand what it is about Trump that — that makes otherwise sensible people crumble in his presence? What’s he got?

ACOSTA: Yeah. Well, it is — it is perhaps one of the questions of our time and I think one of the things that we’re going to see in the coming weeks here in this Ukrainian investigation, in the impeachment inquiry is are we going to see what John F. Kennedy referred to as a profile in courage? And this is a question right now for the Republican Party here in the United States. Will one of these Republican Senators over in the Senate if the President is impeached in the House and this question comes over to the Senate and they have to conduct a trial in the Senate, will one of these Republican Senators stand up in a — in a moment of — of major importance and say that the President should not be conducting himself in trying to get dirt on his political opponents with the help of foreign actors? I think that is one of the key questions that we will see now play out here in the coming months. 

You know, I think one of the things that the President has done very — in a very crafty way with the Republican Party, he has sort of, you know, found their pressure points and their sensitive spots. You know, he has — he has figured out that they can stomach a great deal in terms of his behavior and what he’s done in the past and what he tweets if he gives them conservative judges and tax cuts and so on and so, you know, there’s been a lot of horse trading going on inside the Republican Party in that regard, but we’re now about to find out what happens when you engage in that kind of devil’s bargain. What — what becomes of it at the end and not to disparage Orrin Hatch in any way, he was a well-respected senator here in Washington, but I think his comments on that day when the tax cuts were signed into law and celebrated on the South Lawn of the White House, it’s — it’s — it’s illustrative of that point and that is a lot of Republicans have decided for themselves that they’re no longer the party of Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower and Abraham Lincoln. They are the party of President Trump. They are the party of Donald Trump and we’re now about to find out in real time, in living color, what that delivers onto the American people at the end of all of this. My sense of it is in five, ten, 15 years from now when we look back on this period in our history, there’s going to be a lot of regrets, not just on the Republican side but for everybody because you can’t have a President of the United States conducting himself, calling the press the enemy of the people, demonizing immigrants, cozying up to dictators in the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un and, at the end of the day, everything works out just fine and dandy. 

My sense of history and that’s what I try to talk about in this book is that all of us here in the United States and our neighbors in Canada, our friends around the world, we have to think deeply about the kind of political culture that we want to hand off to the next generation. Is this the kind of way of life that we want for the next generation, not just here in the United States, but around the world. My sense of it is, having looked at what we’ve been going through these last few years is that we’ve got a lot of deep thinking to do as we move forward.

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