It is not a secret that President Trump does not like how he has been covered by CNN, but then he has accused other outlets – with the exception of Fox News – of being “fake news.”
However, the special venom that he reserves for CNN has colored everything from the decision by the Trump administration to block the acquisition of CNN in the AT&T-Time Warner Cable merger to the way CNN reporters are treated at the regular White House press briefings.
Veteran CNN reporter Jim Acosta finally became fed up today and went public with his unhappiness about the unfair way the Trump media team treats those who are not among the president’s right-wing pets.
Acosta tried to get a question answered during today’s press briefing but was openly ignored by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 5, 2018
Acosta had a question related to today’s hot topic – former Trump aide Sam Nunberg announcing he will refuse to respond to a subpoena from Special Prosecutor Robert Muller.
“Sarah,” Acosta finally shouted as the press conference was ending, “this is the third briefing you have not taken a question from CNN. Do you expect the Justice Department to enforce all subpoenas, Sarah?”
Sanders turned and walked away from the podium in the James S. Brady briefing room without looking back or acknowledging Acosta, despite the fact that the interaction was being filmed on live television.
When the cable network returned the image to the studio anchor Brooke Baldwin in New York said, “All right. Jim Acosta there at the end trying to get a question in.”
For Acosta, it was not just about failing to get one question answered; it was the unfairness of a press secretary and a president who play favorites and have little or no respect for the freedom of the press.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 5, 2018
Not the hashtag “courage,” writes The Hill, “implying that Sanders was afraid to take any questions from CNN reporters in the room.”
Later Acosta made clear he considered the whole Trump approach to the press part of a larger problem, that the authoritarian, egotistical president doesn’t respect the press, and thinks any outlet that does not act as his publicist is “fake news.”
Trump, suggests Acosta, wants government control of the press.
Look around the world and check out the countries that have government control over the media. They are not places where you want to live.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 27, 2017
Trump has not been happy with CNN since the presidential campaign and last appeared n the cable network in August 2016.
During that same time, Trump has not appeared often on any other networks either with the exception of Fox News, where he has granted interviews repeatedly, often with non-journalist Sean Hannity, who has openly expressed his allegiance to Trump – even having served as an advisor to his presidential campaign.
During a January 12 press conference, when Acosta tried to ask a question, Trump told him, that CNN was “fake news,” adding that “Your organization is terrible.”
“You’re attacking us,” retorted Acosta. “Can you give us a question?”
“Don’t be rude,” responded the president. “No, I’m not going to give you a question You are fake news.”
Trump, who recently said he would like to be president for life, has made clear that he has no respect for the system of checks and balances on the president which includes not just Congress and the courts, but also the free press.
Without the press, however, many of the outrages and excesses that Trump commits would be allowed to pass without scrutiny and that would be bad for the republic and the people who live and thrive because we are in a democracy.
So Jim Acosta is courageous, and we can only hope his courage will continue to be a beacon in a very dark, dangerous world where the bully-in-chief holds way too much power at present.