I make it no secret, and I’ll make it clear here as well, that I loathe the once and future CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta.
I dislike Jim Acosta because his approach to getting the story isn’t to get the story, it’s to be the story. Acosta spends more time trying to argue with Trump, or nail him with useless “gotcha questions” that end up making him and CNN look clownish than he does actually spending time being a legitimate reporter.
Acosta is an activist with a press pass.
I don’t give one hair off a dead rat’s hind-end if the reporter asking the questions is the most ardent of anti-Trump reporters. So long as the questions are legitimate, and the information he or she is extracting is useful, then I don’t care if they spend their private moments putting voodoo pins in a Trumpy Bear. I think it’s important to have opposition press at any politician’s presser.
The thing about Acosta is that he’s definitely a Trump hater, but instead of allowing his professionalism to guide the way, he lets his ego lead, and as a result, he says and does things that accomplish nothing and go nowhere.
Let me be clear. I don’t dislike Acosta so much because he’s anti-Trump. I dislike Acosta so much because he wastes my time. He wastes your time. He wastes the time of other reporters who could be getting answers about a specific subject.
When Acosta got his White House press pass taken away, I was split. A large part of me celebrated that Acosta was gone, and we could finally rid ourselves of the over-dramatic grandstanding Acosta is known for.
The other part of me got worried. It shouldn’t be this easy to boot a reporter just because the President didn’t like his or her behavior. Rest assured, I think Acosta deserves it, but I wish the process was handled differently.
For one, the optics didn’t look good on the Trump administration. Trump spends a lot of time successfully getting under the skin of reporters and the press, who, like Acosta, are letting their egos drive their actions rather than their professionalism. It’s never a good look on the press whenever they react to Trump with wild accusations, continued segments about how horrid he is, and personal rants about what they really think about him.
For the first time, Acosta seemingly achieved the reverse. He got under Trump’s skin, and as a result, the White House next to immediately revoked Acosta’s pass. Not only did this cause the press to unite around Acosta, it actually caused a rift in the right. Even Fox News backed Acosta. Many saw this as a dangerous precedent to set, and they’re correct.
It shouldn’t be so easy for the White House to ban a reporter. Simply put, imagine if the roles were reversed, and it was a Democratic president kicking out a right-wing journalist. At this point, the right-wing journalist doesn’t even have to do what Acosta did, all he has to do is offend the President, and he’s gone.
This is essentially what Trump acted on. He was offended, he was angry, he had power, and he utilized it against a member of the press.
My hope is that, in the long run, we never see Jim Acosta in the White House press corps again. He’s a waste of space and a bad example for all other reporters. However, the Trump administration fouled up on two things:
For one, Trump opened the floodgates by reacting so quickly in anger, and with Acosta getting his press pass returned by court order, it will probably embolden other reporters to act similarly in the future. Secondly, his hasty action divided many, including his Republican base, causing him to look even more foolish.
I’m sad to see him back, but I’m glad he is back, at least for now. I’m glad the judge reversed Trump’s hasty ban, be it temporarily. I’d hate for any more hasty bans to suddenly be utilized in the future, and Republicans won’t be in power forever.