CNN’s Jim Acosta was called on, allowed to ask several questions, and then told to sit down by the president. He refused and continued standing and talking, even wrestling with a young female White House staffer over the microphone. He offered a personal opinion, stating that the migrant caravan was not an “invasion,” disagreeing with President Trump’s opinion that it was.
I’ve covered the White House for 20 years, and I have never seen such disreputable behavior on the part of a journalist. This is not an issue of free speech or protecting freedom of the press. Acosta was given his turn and he simply abused it, utterly disrespecting the office of the president.
What’s more, Acosta harmed the cause of freedom of the press by doing something so obviously self-aggrandizing and unprofessional. The free press, which is essential to the functioning of a democracy, is already in disrepute with the American people for its overt bias. Acosta Wednesday did more damage, creating a viral video clip showcasing press bias and unprofessionalism that will be rerun for years.
I think President Trump has every right to call the media “fake news.” I have disagreed with his contention that they are the “Enemy of the People” and have considered the phrase dangerous, and I continue to. But with the sight of a mainstream journalist so egregiously disrespecting the presidency, the American people’s presidency, it is hard to blame someone for agreeing with the president on this point.