After clashing with President Trump during a presidential press conference at the White House Wednesday (Nov 7th), CNN’s Jim Acosta had his press pass suspended “until further notice,” thereby sparking a long standing feud between the President and the main stream media.
The meeting was intended to give the President an opportunity to review Tuesday’s election. He said he was satisfied with the results and hoped to forge a relationship with House Democrats to work on legislation. He then opened the floor for questions from the press.
Acosta was the second person to ask the President a question, involving “the caravan” moving through Mexico to the United States. Here, he challenged the President’s interpretation of “invasion” of the immigrants. The President answered by disagreeing with the reporter’s interpretation. Acosta claimed the President was trying to demonize immigrants by his description which drew the ire of the President who told the reporter to let him do his job. He then turned to another reporter for the next question. Acosta pressed on by beginning to ask a second question regarding the Russian investigation. The President took Acosta to task saying, “I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you work for them. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee (Sanders) is horrible. And the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.”
As I traveled with the press corps in covering Trump Rallies in Florida, I have had the opportunity to watch Acosta work first-hand. It seems to me, he is more interested in his own personal agenda than anything else. He relishes being the center of attention which is why, I believe, he asks questions unlike other reporters. This confrontation with the President is not the first as he has cultivated a combative relationship with Mr. Trump.
Let us not forget, after a confrontation with Trump supporters at a rally in Tampa earlier this year, where he was shouted down by the audience, Acosta said he felt threatened and suggested children shouldn’t be allowed to attend Trump rallies, as the people are allegedly dangerous. This is what initiated his claim that the President was at war with the press.
CNN naturally came to their employee’s defense following Wednesday’s controversy by stating, “This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support.”
They also called Trump’s attacks on the media as “un-American,” thereby fueling the fire of division.
A couple things come to mind after watching this on television. First, I didn’t hear one intelligent question to the President from an American “journalist.” Here you have the Commander-in-Chief where you can ask a question of substance regarding government policies on such things as the economy, trade, foreign relations, health care, prescription drugs (which the President is discussing with Democrats), the federal bench, military matters, immigration reform, etc. Instead, they are preoccupied baiting the President with trivialities designed to make him look bad, not good. He, of course, would have none of it, and snapped back at the questioners now and then. I found it particularly amusing when he said, “That’s the best you’ve got?” or “That’s a question?”
In other words, the President completely understands the game the press is playing with him and is appalled by the low IQ questions and inflammatory accusations they make. This has forced him to become even more no-nonsense than before, which is why he butted heads with Acosta. Frankly, I’m surprised he hadn’t taken them all to task earlier. I suspect we will continue to see more changes in the relationship with the press following the election.
This brings up my second point, participation as a member of the press at the White House is a privilege, not a right. There is no legislation stating the press has access rights. As I’ve mentioned before, it was around President Theodore Roosevelt’s time when the administration allowed members of the press on the grounds of the White House. The press has as much right to the White House, as they do to the President’s taxes, which is zilch.
So, as a guest, the press should behave with more civility at the President’s home, as opposed to becoming obnoxious. In a way this reminds of when you have a guest at your house who perhaps has had too much to drink or has offended someone. Usually, the host asks him to leave and calls him a cab. Jim Acosta’s taxi arrived yesterday.
Keep the Faith!
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