Double Standard: Munro 'Heckling' Obama vs. Acosta Interrupting Trump

During Saturday’s edition of Watters’ World, host Jesse Watters and his panel discussed the exchange between President Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta earlier in the week that ultimately concluded with the White House revoking Acosta’s “hard pass,” at least temporarily. After playing a clip of the exchange, Watters contrasted the media's obsession with President Trump’s depiction of the caravan with their non-existent outrage over President Obama calling the Benghazi terror attack “a protest over a video.” According to Watters, “that was an extreme mischaracterization of the truth and the media never challenged him on that at all.”

One of the guests, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, said that the Trump-Acosta exchanges reminded him of the contentious exchanges between President Reagan and ABC’s Sam Donaldson. D’Souza noted one key difference between Donaldson and Acosta: “Reagan and Sam Donaldson were adults.” D’Souza went on to compare Acosta to an “overgrown infant,” pointing out how he “won’t take no for an answer” and has a “sense of entitlement and arrogance.” Watters agreed, arguing that Acosta “thinks he’s above everybody else in that room. He thinks it’s the Jim Acosta show.”

The other guest, The Hill’s media reporter Joe Concha, pointed out that “this is two years of Acosta doing this. It’s built to this crescendo.” At this point, Concha brought up the media’s reaction to Neil Munro, then a staffer for The Daily Caller, interrupting one of President Obama’s speeches. Concha read aloud some headlines written in response to Munro’s interruption of President Obama.

A headline from Politico read “Obama Interrupted by Heckling Reporter,” a headline from The Atlantic asked “Who is Neil Munro and Why is He Interrupting the President?” In the final example of a blatant double standard, Concha read aloud a headline from Mediaite: “CNN White House Reporter: Obama Heckler Let Him ‘Sound Passionate.’” As the segment came to a close, Concha remarked “I don’t hear anybody calling Jim Acosta a heckler now.”

 

 

In 2018, Acosta shouted a question about DACA at President Trump during the White House Easter egg hunt; yet no one called him a “heckler” then and they still don’t now.

A transcript of the relevant portion of Saturday’s edition of Watters’ World is below. Click “expand” to read more.

Watters’ World

11/10/18

08:19 PM

 

JESSE WATTERS: The White House pulled the credentials from CNN reporter Jim Acosta after this ridiculous display at the White House on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA: Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to challenge you on one of the statements that you made in the tail end of the campaign in the midterms; that this…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Here we go.

ACOSTA: Well, if you don’t mind Mr. President, that this caravan was an invasion. As you know, Mr. President…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I consider it to be an invasion.

ACOSTA: But as you know, Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion, it’s a, it’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America towards the border with the U.S.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you for telling me that. I appreciate it.

ACOSTA: Why did you, why did you characterize it as such and…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Because I consider it an invasion. You and I have a difference of opinion.

ACOSTA: But do you think that you demonized immigrants in this election?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Not at all. No, not at all. I want them, I want them to come into the country, but they have to come in legally. You know, they have to come in, Jim, through a process. I want it to be a process and I want people to come in and we need the people…

ACOSTA: Your campaign…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Wait, wait, wait. You know why we need the people, don’t you? Because we have hundreds of companies moving in, we need the people.

ACOSTA: Your campaign had an ad showing migrants climbing over walls and so on.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, that’s true. They weren’t actors.

ACOSTA: They’re not going to be doing that.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: They weren’t actors. Well, no, it’s true. Do you think they were actors? They weren’t actors. They didn’t come from Hollywood. These were, these were people, this was an actual…you know, it happened a few days ago and…

ACOSTA: They are hundreds of miles away, though. They are hundreds and hundreds of miles away. That’s not an invasion.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know what? I think you should, honestly, I think you should let me run the country, you run CNN, and if you did it well, your ratings would be much higher.

ACOSTA: Let me ask, …if I may Mr. President…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, that’s enough.

ACOSTA: Mr. President, if I may, if I may ask another question…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Peter, go ahead.

ACOSTA: …are you worried…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s enough. That’s enough.

ACOSTA: Mr. President…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s enough.

ACOSTA: I was going to ask, the other folks that had…Pardon me, ma’am, I’m…Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Excuse me, that’s enough.

ACOSTA: Mr. President, I have one other question.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Peter, let’s go…

ACOSTA: If I may ask on the Russia investigation, are you concerned that you may have indictments…

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m not concerned about anything with the Russia investigation because it’s a hoax. That’s enough, put down the mic.

ACOSTA: Mr. President, are you worried about indictments coming down in this investigation?

PETER ALEXANDER: Mr. President?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person, you shouldn’t be working for CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATTERS: Joining me now with reaction, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza and Media Reporter for The Hill Joe Concha. So I just want to start off before we get to the whole arm push whether it was or whether it wasn’t. This is the President of the United States, he’s the Commander-in-Chief and he can characterize something happening at our border however he wants. It’s an invasion, it’s an incursion, it’s an intrusion. He has authority over the border when it comes to national security. Remember, Barack Obama in Benghazi, he said that terrorist attack was a protest over a video. Now that was an extreme mischaracterization of the truth. And the media never challenged him on that at all. They let him slide on that. So to have Acosta come up over a difference of opinion over a, over a choice of words and try to argue with the President in such a rude and disrespectful way, I thought was uncalled for and just yanking the press pass is basically just saying listen, Jim, get into time out, cool off for a second and we’ll let you back next week. Dinesh, what do you think?

DINESH D’SOUZA: Well, first of all, the exchange, this to me was, was highly entertaining. It reminded me of some of the skirmishes between Reagan and Sam Donaldson from the old days, except Reagan and Sam Donaldson were grownups. Now, the funny thing here, I think with Jim Acosta, I have to say, I’m looking at an overgrown infant. I don’t know if this is medically possible that you physically grow but emotionally you remain an infant and intellectually because when you are an emotional infant, you want to grab something, you don’t want to stop, you  don’t know enough, you want another cookie, another piece of candy and you won’t take no for an answer. And the other thing is you have a sense of entitlement and arrogance because you don’t have…

WATTERS: Right. He thinks he’s above everybody else in that room. He thinks it’s the Jim Acosta show. And he’s there to trade barbs with the President of the United States. And if he gets called out for it, he’s the victim. He thinks he’s the Rosa Parks of the press corps and he’s too dramatic. I don’t know Jim Acosta. I’ve never met him. He seems like a fine guy personally. But his behavior is totally out of line. And Joe, taking a press pass away isn’t attacking the First Amendment. It’s just telling the guy, hey, behave yourself and conduct yourself with a little bit more decorum and have a little bit more respect for the Presidency.

JOE CONCHA: I am glad you played the entire clip because all I’ve seen is the microphone exchange. If you watch the clip, he tries to ask, Acosta, four different questions. The way a press conference like this works, if you are a White House Correspondent, you get one question and maybe a follow-up, maybe a second question. As you said, it’s not his show. There are dozens of other reporters in there, good ones by the way; Jon Karl, ABC; Jeff Mason, Reuters; John Roberts from Fox News; Hallie Jackson, NBC. They are not trying to ask four questions in this case. And remember the way Acosta started that. He says I want to challenge you, and then he goes into a lecture around whether it’s an invasion or not. This is a mid-40s version of the captain of the debate team, right? And that’s not his job.

WATTERS: And look how many questions the President took, he took 68 questions from 35 reporters. And Dinesh, Jim Acosta just wants to monopolize the whole thing. I think if you want to go up there and ask a question, fine. If you have a follow up, see if you can squeeze it in. But to say to the Commander-in-Chief, you know what, I’m running the press conference. You don’t get to decide when you want to move on to another reporter. I’m the one holding the mic, I get to decide when the President of the United States wants to move on to another reporter. Who does he think he is?

D’SOUZA: Well, I think what Trump finds maddening and this explains the sharpness of the way Trump responded is I think Trump recognizes that this same press corps ,with Acosta in the lead perhaps, was just lap dog sycophantic to Obama.

WATTERS: Right.

D’SOUZA: And they are unremittingly hostile to Trump. Now, they have the right to do that but to pretend that they are not doing that, to pretend that they are just being objective and “doing their job” when the transparent bias, the agenda is so obvious to anyone watching, I think that’s what Trump finds maddening.

WATTERS: They have no credibility because they treated both Presidents totally differently. And then just lastly, real quick, I guess the White House is being accused of altering or doctoring that video or something like that. I don’t know what they did or not. All I know is that if you look at it in real-time, he has the mic in the one hand and he pulls his arm down on the woman’s arm and you can see it go down so he’s obviously provoking a physical confrontation.

CONCHA: It’s just, I don’t think it’s even the point really, what happened with the microphone. This is two years of Acosta doing this. It has built to this crescendo. And let me go back to Neil Munro. He was with the Daily Caller  and he interrupted President Obama in 2012. I asked your producers to put together a couple of headlines here as far as the reaction when he interrupted the President once. Politico, “Obama interrupted by heckling reporter.” “Who is Neil Munro and why is He Interrupting the President?” The Atlantic. And finally, this is the best one, from Mediaite. “CNN White House Reporter: Obama heckler let him sound passionate.” That White House reporter wasn’t Jim Acosta. I don’t hear anybody calling Jim Acosta a heckler now.

 


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