CNN Preacher Jim Acosta Should Shut His Loud, Irritating Face

Seriously, shut up. Shut the hell up. Shut your face hole. Be quiet. Zip it. Shush!

You feel that? Do you feel that irritation and anger and rejection of you and your premise and your point of view? I’m a vocal Trump administration critic and pro-immigration squish with a soft spot for amnesty, but people like Jim Acosta make even me livid. Which means I’m on the same side of an issue with the die-hard Trumpists. And that just makes me even angrier.


Streiff reported earlier (with a handy, summarized, streiff transcript that was just perfect) about the breakout video of Wednesday in which Trump advisor Stephen Miller went to war with CNN speech-giver Jim Acosta during a briefing on immigration.

When I say people like Acosta, I don’t mean reporters, I mean interrupters. You’ll see; here is the incredibly annoying video:

It is baffling to me that anyone in the world thinks this played well for loudmouth Acosta. Is there anything worse than someone who won’t shut up after a question for long enough to even hear the answer? It’s infuriating. I’ve had it happen to me and my rage spiked into “destroy all humans” levels every time. This was like watching every worst episode of “The O’Reilly Factor” all at once.

Seriously. It’s ridiculous. Jim Acosta is ridiculous. That video is ridiculous.

Stephen Miller arguing about the poem on the Statue of Liberty being added later was stupid. You can’t win by making a point like that. Yes, people who cite the poem as some sort of official statement on American policy are wrong. But arguing “The poem came later, it’s not really part of it” is asinine. It is obviously part of the Statue, and it matters a great deal. It’s not policy of course, but there is no question those stirring words speak to the spirit of Lady Liberty and have long (over a hundred years, bud) been closely identified with the idealization of our national character. Being technically correct about it coming later is trivial in light of the reality of history.


But it doesn’t matter, because Acosta wouldn’t shut up.

He talked over the whole response. I’ve seen Major Garrett and Jake Tapper push government officials many times. They get exactly the answer they seek and they fight for it. But look at their technique. You have to actually let the person answer you. You can’t make a ten minute speech designed to improve the density of fawning tweets in your mentions column. You can’t be in it for your aggrandizement. Which Acosta blatantly was.

It was minorly (the opposite of “bigly”) satisfying to see Miller attack Acosta’s banal interpretation of policy for being based on his elitist, urban, parochial, Upper Crust Side mores, but it was not productive or professional. It changed the focus from the policy to the brawl and was, for the most part, illustrative of temper and disdain rather than illuminating.

But it doesn’t matter, because Acosta wouldn’t shut up.

He was so unprofessional and long-winded and irritating that it just doesn’t make a difference that Miller generally failed to communicate his point or provide a meaningful answer to the central and original question that was posed to him. Acosta out-failed him.

Miller’s ineptitude at dialogue was dwarfed by Acosta’s obnoxious, grand-standing monologue.

I like a hostile press to an extent. I’ve written about that. I liked it under Bush, I liked it under Obama, I like it under Trump. Especially under Trump, I’d say. It’s healthy and necessary. But the word hostile there is a term of art. It doesn’t actually mean a “cash me ousside” relationship between the press and the government. It’s about pushing back smartly. Moreover, pushing an administration, pushing back against their prepared remarks, is a generally good thing to do. Admirable on occasion.


But it doesn’t matter, because Acosta wouldn’t shut up.

In case Acosta has forgotten (and by that I mean “Acosta has obviously forgotten”) the purpose of the press in meeting with and questioning officials is both to obtain the truth, and to act as tool by and for the people as a check on power. No one ever said “Where Jim Acosta is crushed on by liberal Twitterers, and every man able to read, all is safe.” This is not a matter of press freedom, it’s a matter of being an obnoxious tool. And if you have any doubt he’s crusading for laurels, look no further than his Twitter to see him revealed.


Jim, you need to learn to shut up. Not the press. Just you. And not all the time, but yes when you’re theoretically in a two-person conversation. Many great reporters who asked many historic questions have been in these briefings before you. They knew that sometimes shutting up is the loudest thing you can do.

Don’t buy your own hype. You aren’t a “brand” that is known for being “hard-hitting.” You’re the insufferable relative at a gathering that President Obama inadvertently warned us about. The gasbag, know-it-all liberal who talks at you, not to you, and mostly just talks OVER you. That’s a fine pose, such as it is, for a college kid or a cocktail party denizen reveling in his or her cosmopolitan bias. But it’s not what a reporter does.


Well … not the good ones, anyway.


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