Acosta incident an assault on truth
The reporter was out of line. The president doesn’t even seem to know there is a line.
The White House could have booted CNN reporter Jim Acosta for escalating a heated exchange with the president. Instead, his credentials were pulled because of something he didn’t do — and a doctored video of the incident made its way onto a Lackawanna County commissioner’s Facebook page. Kelly’s World,
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” — From “1984,” by George Orwell (1903-1950)
Jim Acosta had it coming. Told to surrender the microphone during a Wednesday press conference at the White House, the CNN reporter kept barking questions until President Donald Trump directed an intern to shut him up.
Acosta’s questions were fair and deserved answers, but he escalated the heated exchange with the president by refusing to yield the floor. He made himself the news of the day, a distraction the administration was happy to embrace after a tough election night for Trump.
The White House could have reasonably pulled Acosta’s credentials for flaunting the rules of the room. Instead, he was booted for something he didn’t do.
When the female intern reached for the microphone, Acosta raised his left arm in her direction and leaned away. Their arms met, which the White House laughably described as an assault.
“President Trump believes in a free press and expects and welcomes tough questions of him and his Administration,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders tweeted. “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.”
Doubling down on Thursday, Sanders tweeted video of the incident, which appeared to show Acosta viciously “karate-chopping” the intern. It went viral on contact, as does most fake news spread on social media.
Lackawanna County Commissioner Laureen Cummings — a tea party Republican and professional martyr — shared the video on Facebook:
“Jim Acosta actually karate chopped this girls arm while she tried to get the mic off of him for the second time .... what a scumbag,” Cummings wrote.
No, he didn’t. It took minutes to see the video was doctored, sped up to give the false impression that Acosta struck the intern. The White House got the video from Infowars, the conspiracy theory clearinghouse run by Alex Jones, the alt-right uber-kook who said the Sandy Hook shootings never happened, that tap water is laced with chemicals that turn frogs gay and that Hillary Clinton is “one of the most vicious serial killers the planet’s ever seen.”
I’m not making any of that up. Jones, on the other hand, makes up everything he says. Yet the White House — always howling about CNN being “fake news” — used an obviously doctored video as evidence of an assault by a CNN reporter that never happened.
The irony is compounded by the wailing that Trump and his enablers did during the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings. The notion that undocumented claims of assault could ruin an “innocent” man’s life and career was a horror no good American could support. Every man and boy in the country was at risk of being “falsely accused.”
What a difference a midterm makes. Stung by the Democrats’ retaking the House, Trump walked into the room spoiling for a fight, another distraction the press would chase down a rabbit hole as the real news was obscured. Acosta obliged, played by a master manipulator. I crossed a similar line years ago in an editorial board meeting with a county commissioner. Not a member of the board, I was invited as a guest.
The rest is history, and I almost was, too.
The commissioner eventually went to prison. Immediately after the meeting, my employers informed me that starting shouting matches with newsmakers was not only unacceptable, but a career choice.
I got the message. Acosta is a skilled reporter, but his penchant for grandstanding should have been reined in by CNN brass long before Wednesday.
The president refuses to be reined in by anyone or anything. Trump’s hissy fit over Acosta’s persistence revealed his true self — a crybaby bully who doesn’t think he has to answer to anyone.
“CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them,” Trump sniffed. “You are a rude, terrible person.”
Takes one to know one. Acosta may be his own worst enemy, but doing his job does not make him an “enemy of the people.” When the Obama administration tried to ban Fox “News” from White House press conferences, Acosta and CNN rallied the press to demand Fox reporters’ reinstatement.
Acosta behaved badly at the press conference, but he didn’t assault anyone or anything but Trump’s fragile feelings. Trump and the White House assaulted the truth with a doctored video lifted from one of the world’s premier sources of actual fake news.
Trump’s base should be ashamed to have him working for them.