Jim Acosta: Remember him?
The impeccably coiffed avatar of left-wing rage against the Donald Trump White House is no longer CNN’s White House correspondent. This might seem counterintuitive; Acosta was the most famous man on the other side of the podium in the White House press room, and by a fairly wide margin at that. However, just days before Joe Biden took office, CNN announced a shake-up that would take Acosta away from 1600 Pennsylvania.
“Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent during the Trump years and a frequent target of the outgoing president, will become chief domestic correspondent along with a weekend anchor role. His time slot will be announced soon,” read a CNN piece by “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter announcing the shake-up in January.
“The new assignments all point in a hard news direction as CNN transitions from the Trump years to the Biden years. All the major television networks typically make anchor and reporter changes around the time of a presidential transition.”
So, wait: Acosta wasn’t “hard news?” Curious admission, that — and by Brian Stelter, no less. Whatever the case, the coiffed one was moved to the national affairs desk and now has a weekend show in which he pontificates about the perfidies of the Republican Party, Donald Trump and (of course) Fox News.
In fact, this weekend, Acosta was so busy railing against Fox News that his network turned its attention away from actual news — namely, the clashes in Jerusalem between Israeli forces and Palestinians. As of Monday, the violence had escalated to the point where Hamas — the terror group that maintains de facto rule over the Gaza Strip — began firing missiles into Israel.
The fighting continued into Thursday. Hamas had fired over 1,500 rockets, Fox News reported, and Israel had retaliated by killing as many as 10 senior Hamas officials. Palestinian deaths so far total 83, Fox reported; seven Israelis have been killed.
— Joe Truzman (@Jtruzmah) May 12, 2021
Over the weekend, this was what Fox News was reporting on:
— Mark Meredith (@markpmeredith) May 8, 2021
As BizPac Review‘s Tom Tillison noted, at the same time Fox News was airing on-the-scene reporting from Jerusalem on Sunday amid clashes between Palestinian rioters and Israeli forces — 4:41 p.m. Eastern time in the U.S. — here was Jim Acosta bringing you the news that really mattered:
Acosta was unhappy that Republicans were unhappy that liberals were unhappy a new Snow White ride at Disneyland featured a scene where the prince kisses Snow White to rouse her from her slumber. To the left, this was non-consensual. (“Haven’t we already agreed that consent in early Disney movies is a major issue? That teaching kids that kissing, when it hasn’t been established if both parties are willing to engage, is not OK?” an article in SFGate read.)
To Acosta, Fox News was milking the Snow White controversy as if it existed in a vacuum: “Not to be Grumpy,” Acosta said, “but this is just Dopey.”
I don’t think anyone in CNN’s control room was particularly Happy that Acosta was using jokes Shecky Greene would have rejected, but he sallied forth, saying that we should “[f]orget Snow White. It’s the cancel cult of Trump that really bites.”
“This is faux outrage,” Acosta said. “The same far-right voices railing against cancel culture, they love to cancel, silence, harass and banish anyone who won’t pucker up and show some love to Donald Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election.”
In the meanwhile, the faux outrage network was interrupting programming to bring viewers developments from the Middle East.
It is, indeed, a single moment in time. CNN isn’t the Evil Queen of cable news, focusing every iota of its energy on its Snow White, Fox News. Lest we give you the wrong impression, CNN has covered the violence in Israel, too.
However, as tensions in Israel ratcheted up, viewers apparently couldn’t be taken away from Acosta making Snow White puns your dad would have passed on and telling his viewership all this talk about cancel culture was nothing more than a minor distraction. After all, it had happened in the past — Dr. Seuss, for instance — and nothing had come of that. Except for several Dr. Seuss books being forced out of print, that is.
And Acosta’s eventual point about comparing the left’s insidious cancel culture to the kind of backlash Republican politicians like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney have faced for opposition to Trump — and opposition to their own party — was as strained at some of his puns.
Of course, the real story here is that now that Donald Trump isn’t in the White House, CNN is desperately searching for a raison d’être. The new Trump, it seems, is Fox News. It’s easy to see why:
The drop CNN is experiencing is profound. On Friday, not one program broke 900K total viewers. Prime averaged less than 800K overall.
For comparison, the network averaged 2.74 million viewers in January, so we’re talking about more than two-thirds of the audience – gone. https://t.co/a4f14QXStm
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) May 10, 2021
Joe Concha, media columnist for The Hill, noted that not a single program on CNN broke 900,000 viewers last Friday.
This isn’t an aberration. According to Fox News, between Nov. 4 and Jan. 20 — the day after the election and the inauguration — CNN averaged 2.5 million primetime viewers a day. Between Jan. 21 through March 15, however, they averaged 1.6 million — a drop-off of more than a third.
In an attempt to drum up ratings, therefore, CNN has built itself a new Donald Trump — and it just so happens to be one of its closest competitors!
It’s not as if CNN hasn’t taken pot-shots at Fox before, but this is different: CNN now reliant on Fox-centric outrage to drive dismal ratings.
In short: Forget about that “hard news” direction CNN was supposed to be taking now that Trump’s out of office. As Fox News covers unrest in the Middle East, Jim Acosta rants about Fox News and Snow White. You can almost hear the James Earl Jones voice-over: “This is CNN.”
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