By NICOLAS IPARRAGUIRRE
This week, CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta had his press credentials suspended after a controversial incident during President Trump’s post-midterm election press conference.
The incident stemmed from Acosta repeatedly asking the president questions about the migrant caravan heading toward the southern border, with Trump eventually cutting Acosta off. When a female aide attempted to remove the microphone from Acosta’s hand, he attempted to hold on and what has followed has been a circus.
In response to the incident, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a doctored video of the incident, accusing Acosta of placing his hands on the female aide. Producing an edited video and denying access can objectively be seen as the Trump administration acting in totalitarian fashion, but the news media have turned a winning issue for credibility into a food fight with the president.
Just last week, comedians Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle sat down with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour to discuss various issues about comedy, Trump, and the press today. In discussing the media’s role in the age of Trump, Amanpour said, “But we the journalists, we I think believe that our job is to navigate the truth and do the fact-checking and all the rest of it.”
While this may be true, and most journalists do have this intention, Stewart’s response perfectly described why the news media have grown hostile in the face of Trump’s constant attacks.
“But I think the journalists have taken it personally,” Stewart said. “They’re personally offended and wounded by [Trump]. He baits them and they dive in — and what he’s done well I thought was to appeal to their own narcissism, to their own ego.”
Stewart’s understanding of the news media can be seen in Acosta’s actions during the post-midterm press conference. Acosta was asking a question about a hot-button issue (the migrant caravan) but was overtaken by his own ego and lashed out. While the administration’s response has been dishonest and possibly immoral, Acosta’s own antics have allowed what should be a one-sided issue to become more complex than it should be. Had he remained totally respectful, it would be impossible for anyone to condemn him.