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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Media needs to cut Jim Acosta loose

"It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!"
-- President Trump on August 2.

To prove his point, the media keeps reporting it as the president calling reporters the enemy of the people.

Then the endless panels on the cable channels chatter away about this nonsense

Guess what?

After a couple of years of this, real reporters are getting tired of it.

Todd S. Purdum of The Atlantic took a shot at Jim Acosta, who self-promotes himself as the bad boy of journalism.

Purdum is no fan of The Donald and not exactly the keenest observer of the body politic, having written a month or so ago, "The president’s absolution of Putin will stand as the most surreal moment in 70 years of Russian-American relations, and maybe the most bizarre and troubling utterance by any chief executive in American history."

How soon they forget Nixon's kitchen debate with Khrushchev.

Nevertheless, in taking on Acosta, Purdum signaled the rise of the grown-ups in the briefing room.

"Stipulate that Sanders traduces the truth each waking or speaking hour. Stipulate, too, that Acosta had just been the object of threatening and abusive taunts at a Trump rally in Florida. Even stipulate, if you wish, that his question was a cri de coeur and not a showy bid for clicks and ratings in the debased ritual of performance art that the White House briefing has become," Purdum wrote.

"But acknowledge this also, please: Whenever a reporter who has not been kidnapped by terrorists, shot by an assailant, or won a big prize becomes an actor in her own story, she has lost the fight. Or in this case, reinforced the corrosive, cynical, and deeply dangerous feedback loop that has convinced Trump’s most fervent supporters that his relentless brief against the press has merit: FAKE NEWS! SAD!"

And we know the stipulations are false. People shouted "CNN sucks" while Acosta tried to do an actuary, but earlier, some Trump supporters got autographs and selfies of Acosta.

Purdum takes on the whole sideshow reporters turned the daily briefing into.

"But the press secretary’s briefing— long an informal, in camera affair, once intended for a meaningful exchange of information and facts — has only been available for live broadcast in its entirety for a little more than 20 years, since the middle of Bill Clinton’s first term. On its face, that sounds like progress: independent journalists speaking truth to power, on behalf of — and in front of — the people," he wrote.

"In practice, the ritual has all too often become a circus of reportorial self-expression, and sometimes self-promotion."

Purdum turned on Acosta when he chose "to ask Sanders if she subscribed to her boss’s Stalinist view of the press. 'I … I … ,' he said, revving up the first-person pronoun before declaring, 'I think it would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now, are doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier, are not the enemy of the people. I … I think we … we deserve that.'

"When Sanders began to respond, Acosta — who bears a passing salt-and-pepper-haired resemblance to George Clooney — interrupted her repeatedly, finally allowing her to reply, with a quavering voice while visibly consulting prepared talking points on the lectern in front of her, that she had been personally attacked by the media, mocked for her appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first press secretary in history to require Secret Service protection because of public harassment. All regrettable, of course, but a word cloud irrelevant to the matter at hand."

Note that Purdum thinks unprecedented threats in a press secretary's life are irrelevant to a self-promoting journalist's butt-hurt over having people shout "CNN sucks" at him — a bit that he milked for all the publicity and sympathy he could garner.

It is not a "dubious distinction," but rather a very real threat to a woman and her young family. The Secret Service does not play games.

Acosta does.

As long as his fellow reporters defend him rather than cut him loose, I am convinced that the press is not a profession. If it were, it would police itself.

Change Acosta to a Fox News reporter and Trump to Obama — and you don't have to hypothesize. Obama trashed Major Garrett on several occasions. Purdum didn't mention it.

"A quick YouTube search turns up numerous occasions in which Obama mocked Fox News at everything from press briefings and campaign rallies to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. When Garrett hears that fellow White House reporters and their outlets are referred to as 'fake news' or the 'opposition party,' he tries to remind them that it is not new for a president to try to intimidate, disdain or manipulate the press," The Wrap reported.

Garrett is now with CBS News. I don't recall CNN going on and on about how Obama was endangering Garrett's life.

But then again, Garrett is an actual reporter, not a personality.


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  1. Simple Solution: The White House Press Corps collects questions from its reporters. They are reviewed and the best questions are assigned to reporters. The list is then given to the Press Secretary. No yelling. No waving of hands. No talking over one another. The Press Secretary calls out each reporter in turn for their question. Civil questions, civil answers, in a civil manner. Decorum returns to the daily White House press briefing. - Elric

    1. An even simpler solution would be to stop televising the WH press conference so that people like Costa might stop playing to the camera.

    2. I agree, but due to the dumbing down of our education system and society in general most of the modern media rely on an audio/video feed. - Elric

    3. Agreed: but in the absence of the sound bite, they'll have to find something to eat elsewhere.

  2. People are not angry at the media for telling the truth.

    1. The very few times that they have, but the butthurt propaganda is and has been way out of hand. No adults in the field seems to want to deal with their juvenile associates.

    2. No, buddy. We are angry at the media for:

      -Lying like cheap rugs, even when the truth is readily attainable
      Cooking their stories to support their own agenda, truth be damned
      -Ignoring and actually burying stories that might hurt their pet politicians or causes
      Heaping hate and contempt on the OVER HALF the country that does not agree with them, in prime time news shows
      -Bending over backwards to undermine the government of the United States whenever it is in the hands of a party they dislike
      Working to enable and support America's enemies abroad even at the cost of American lives
      -Using their positions to support crime and violence at home, as long as the perpetrators are of the same political alignment

      ...and doing all that under the cover of "objective journalism".
      Yes, they are the enemies of the American People... by their own hands.

  3. CNN should just give Acosta what he wants - his own show. He is the worst of the worst. Andrea Mitchell is not far behind. As others have said, Not televising the briefing would be a help too.

    As for Purdum, dum I am not but I had to look up Traduces and cri de couer. Why not write in plain English instead of trying to show how brilliant you are? I ain’t no dummy but using Saturday New York Times crossword clues in an article is pompous and supercilious.

    1. The loc du jour is esta croix ex deuces salami with you, my friend.
      Yeah. It's jibberish.

    2. Fear not, they don't know what it means, either - they write the article, then grab a Thesaurus and use that to look up & sprinkle in a few obscure synonyms for real english words to make it look "Smart"".

    3. As young, goofy kids, we used to have a smartass retort for BS...It went something like ... "By the way your lips are moving , one would think you were speaking. But since the power of speech is held only by intelligence, this is impossible."

      This somehow seems to fit the bill!