Bad news for objective journalism: Jim Acosta is back in the White House. Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly recently forced the Trump administration to reinstate the CNN reporter’s press pass, meaning he is allowed to resume his duties as the cable network’s White House correspondent.
President Donald Trump responded thoughtfully, defending the “total freedom of the press,” but also urging Acosta and other reporters to show respect on the job.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, meanwhile, stressed the importance of “fair and orderly press conferences in the future.”
Which is exactly the point. Trump has nothing against journalism as a profession. If anything, his media savvy transformed him into one of America’s most successful businessmen. The president sees the value in a free press, as long as the media is objectively holding elected officials accountable.
The White House’s gripe is with biased reporters who — rather than reporting the news — grandstand during news conferences to promote their own careers and failing cable news networks.
The establishment media routinely relies on “gotcha” questions, misleading headlines and outright hit pieces to undermine the Trump agenda for political purposes.
Trump didn’t describe the media as “the enemy of the people”; that designation was for the “‘fake news media” — the left-leaning mainstream media that sheds its objectivity for open hostility.
Jim Acosta, who regularly disrespects White House officials like Sanders and interrupts other reporters, is the poster child for “fake news.” Obsessed with himself — and himself only — Acosta’s petulant child routine has not only disrupted numerous White House events, but also prevented more objective journalists from doing their jobs. His abrasive interruptions only stop reasonable questions from being asked.
Unfortunately, Acosta is not alone. Everyday Americans are daily bombarded with combative headlines that denigrate Trump as stupid, evil, or both.
Just read The New York Times’ hit piece du jour: “Two Years In, Trump Struggles to Master Role of Military Commander.” Or take The Washington Post’s daily dose of anti-Trump columns, like this one: “Trump is already hurting democracy. Now the GOP is making it worse.”
When it comes to hostility, Acosta’s own network takes the cake: “Pence takes a global role as Trump broods.” Look no further than this “analysis” from CNN’s Stephen Collinson: “For Trump, there’s no easy way out of his funk.” Or check out another “analysis” from CNN’s Chris Cillizza: “The one thing that drives Donald Trump totally crazy about the Mueller investigation.”
Rather than bemoaning the White House’s so-called “threat to democracy,” the liberal media would be better served getting its own house in order. Factual errors and embarrassing retractions only erode trust in an institution that has deserved none in recent years.
According to Gallup, nearly 70 percent of Americans claim their trust in the news media has declined over the last decade. This certainly applies to Republicans (94 percent) and independents (65 percent), but even to a sizable chunk of Democrats (46 percent).
That’s right: Even many Democrats can see the liberal media for the Democratic super PAC it has become.
Is it any wonder the president calls out “fake news”? Distrust of the media is perhaps the only issue that can unite Democrats, Republicans and independents, which means it’s a winning issue for the White House.
An extra serving of Jim Acosta is just another victory for President Trump. Just keep being yourself, Jimmy.
Ted Harvey is chairman of the Committee to Defend the President.
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