Wednesday’s press conference pit CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta against President Donald Trump, and while bouts between Acosta and White House staff aren’t uncommon, this interaction generated a firestorm of controversy.
As I covered in detail on Wednesday, Acosta began his usual schtick of acting more like a political activist than a reporter and trying to nail Trump on something he had said to make him look bad. Trump, of course, responded by bashing Acosta’s admittedly clownish statements, CNN, and Acosta himself after a very tense back and forth. At one point, a female staffer attempted to take the microphone by force and Acosta pushed her arm away.
It was a shameful moment for Acosta, but as my colleague, Joeseph Cunningham correctly wrote, some shame should fall onto the Trump White House for its part in bringing it to the level of spectacle it was. Either way, Acosta has now had his White House press pass revoked, and is now arguing that he never touched the girl despite video evidence clearly showing that he did.
Among Acosta’s defenders are Acosta’s network CNN, NBC’s White House correspondent Peter Alexander, and now CBS’s White House correspondent Major Garrett, who appeared on Wednesday’s Late Show with Steven Colbert.
According to Garrett, Acosta was the victim of an administration that promotes aggression toward media and that the media should “lock arms” against Trump.
“Now, because there is a collective sense the President is not play acting with attacks on the media and maybe means it and those of us who attend rallies know his supporters react to it,” said Garrett, “sometimes in ways that are so hostile to make us concerned about our own physical safety, that there is a more of an impetus to sort of lock arms, just a little bit and say, ‘Mr. President, if you’re going to come at us that aggressively, we are going to lock arms because collectively, the First Amendment is what unites all of us and in the room and in the moment, we at least have to express that to you and have you take it seriously.”
Garrett’s position on Acosta is bothersome. While we can agree that Trump is no stranger to bombastic actions, cutting words, and contemptuous treatment for the press, it’s not all his fault. The mainstream press is a one-sided mess of leftists trying to become the story and not get the story. Trump and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders are pelted constantly with “gotcha” questions, far more than questions actually asking for information on an event or decision.
Jim Acosta is the poster boy for this behavior. Acosta isn’t there to report, he’s there to fight. By all means, reporters should fight when it’s necessary, but always in a professional manner and with the intention of getting to the meat of a story, not for the purpose of scoring political points against someone you don’t like.
Acosta’s clownish behavior should be an example of what not to do. Yet here is Garrett saying that reporters should lock arms and stand in solidarity with Acosta.
That’s not the kind of press America should have to work with. We don’t want activism. We don’t want a press that’s there to do battle. We want a press that’s there to inform and give us the complete story. If we wanted commentary or activism, we would seek the sources that give that out.
The press is shortchanging us and seems to be seeking fame for its own sake rather than seeking the truth. Garrett, who is right in the middle of selling a book about his sensational time as a correspondent during the Trump administration, is seeking to sell as many as he can with his appearance on Colbert and his “defiance” of Trump’s mistreatment of the press.
The public sees this. While 56 percent believe Trump is dividing people, people believe the media is dividing people even more at 64 percent according to a Morning Consult poll.
This isn’t a press, it’s a propaganda arm of various companies trying to convince you to fall in with whatever agenda they agree with, and the majority of us know it. The question is, when will the press realize this?
Acosta should be ashamed, and Garrett should be just as ashamed for agreeing with him for a profit.