US President Donald Trump’s love-hate affair with the media is the stuff of legends.
And that legend turned ugly in a lengthy press conference following this week’s midterm elections.
The culprit was CNN’s combative chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta. And the White House has had enough.
The administration confirmed that Acosta’s suspension came from his ‘rude’ behaviour — as Trump puts is — during the press conference, insisting on asking a follow-up question regarding Mueller’s Russia probe.
This topic seemed out of tune with the rest of the conference, which focused on Trump’s feelings about the midterm results and whether he still has a wall of support behind him.
What happened between Trump and CNN journalist?
A video of the offence shows Acosta forcefully jerking his hand away from a White House Intern, who was simply following instructions to retrieve the microphone after Acosta’s first question.
His free arm formed a barrier between himself and the young female intern, and the words ‘pardon me, ma’am’ were enough of an affront to make the intern sit down helplessly.
Acosta kept hold of the microphone while he repeatedly interrupted Trump’s explanation that the investigation ‘was a hoax’, adamantly defying the President’s insistence that he put down the mic and not overstep his welcome.
It was only following these passionate words from Trump that Acosta finally let go of the mic:
‘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.
‘The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible and the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way.’
Trump is a president to be proud of
As AP reports, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, had admirable words to say about Trump’s handling of Acosta’s appalling behaviour.
‘President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration.
‘We will, however, never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern. This conduct is absolutely unacceptable.
‘It is also completely disrespectful to the reporter’s colleagues not to allow them an opportunity to ask a question. President Trump has given the press more access than any President in history.
‘Contrary to CNN’s assertions, there is no greater demonstration of the President’s support for a free press than the event he held today.’
Indeed, we can’t deny this last sentiment. This press conference came on the back of the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives. And yet, Trump confidently faced the inevitable humiliating questions for the sake of free media.
But Acosta’s actions will no doubt cause the President to re-think his ‘benefit of the doubt’ approach when it comes to everyone having an equal amount of free speech…particularly when it comes at other’s expense.
A fake news finale?
Back in May, Trump tweeted:
‘…the Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else, 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away credentials?’
While credentials may not be Trump’s for the taking, Acosta’s hard pass certainly is. A video Acosta posted after the confrontation shows him outside the White House handing over his hard pass to the secret service.
He was denied re-entry and could not do an 8pm hit.
Huckabee said they had suspended Acosta’s hard pass ‘until further notice’. Until then, it seems any ‘inside info’ CNN reportedly have from the White House will indeed be ‘fake’. So watch out for it.
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