Jim Acosta Deserves to be Banned from White House Press Events
Today President Donald Trump held a press conference at the White House to discuss the results of the 2018 Midterm Elections. Although the President stood before the Press for nearly an hour and a half and answered several questions ranging from his tax returns to immigration policy, the conversation has somehow shifted to focus on the tumultuous exchange between CNN employee Jim Acosta and President Donald Trump.
The Press Conference started out strong with President Trump offering an olive branch to the Democrats when he expressed hope that compromise could be found on common issues concerning infrastructure and drug pricing.
“I really respected what Nancy said last night about bipartisanship and getting together and uniting,” the President said after stressing the importance of negotiating. “We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure…there are a lot of great things we can do together.” This soft rhetoric comes a day after Nancy Pelosi gave a speech saying that it’s time for Democrats and Republicans to unite and help to heal the divide this country faces.
In fact, for a moment one could believe that Politicians were actually beginning to take the first steps in healing the divide. Just this morning, Trump tweeted his support for Pelosi to be chosen Speaker of the House.
With exception to naming certain Republicans who opposed Trump losing in the Midterm Elections, nothing the President said during the press conference was particularly controversial.
So, did the press report any of the President’s offering of an olive branch?
Keep Dreaming. CNN employee, Jim Acosta, immediately painted the President as “depressed” and “aggrieved”. He never mentioned anything positive that the President said, but was quick to set the narrative that the President was furious and “ready for combat” over the outcome of the elections, even though he repeatedly stated his satisfaction with the Republican’s performance in the Senate.
He’s been the subject of many news cycles for acting more like a political activist than a reporter. His questions are often long-winded, include a political statement, and obviously serve as bait for a “got ya” moment rather than actually seeking information. They usually end with somebody telling him to sit down while he throws a fit. Here’s one example…
So, color me surprised when immediately after the President opens his Press Conference to questioning, Jim Acosta asks a paragraph-long diatribe with a question tacked on to the end…
“I wanted to challenge you on one of the statements that you made during the tail-end of this campaign in the Midterms…that this caravan was an invasion. As you know, Mr. President, the caravan was not an invasion. It’s a group of migrants moving up from Central America to the border with the US. Why did you characterize it as an invasion? Do you think that you demonized immigrants in this election?”
The question is a political statement implying the President is a racist and a liar. The disagreement over semantics about whether or not the caravan is an invasion obviously stems from a differing opinion on immigration policy, but I guess to Jim Acosta if you don’t agree with him politically you’re a racist. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, the fact is that Acosta’s question is obviously insulting and politically motivated.
Is there anything inherently wrong about these type of questions? Nothing except for the fact that they’re offensive. If you want to misconstrue the definition of “race” with “immigrant” to paint your political opponents as racist, you shouldn’t be surprised when the person answering gets defensive and angry. The President has the right to defend himself against pointed and political questions, especially when the question intentionally frames the debate in a misleading manner.
Even though I disagree with Jim, I do concede his right to asks these questions, but he absolutely does not dictate how the President runs his Press Conference. If the President only wants to give you one question, then you shouldn’t spend 2 minutes wrestling with an intern for the microphone while maniacally screaming like a stubborn child. This isn’t a debate. The Press conferences aren’t held to hear Jim Acosta’s opinion. You ask the question, he answers, and you can report the answer along with your opinion afterwards.
The idea that the White House’s animosity towards these disruptions is an attack on free speech is absurd. In an hour and a half period the President took nearly 70 questions from 35 different reporters. Nearly all of the questions were of the same nature as Acosta’s, yet none of their names are displayed on national headlines right now. It wasn’t the question that started the controversy, it was his refusal to pass the microphone, even swatting a White House Aide’s hands away in a struggle to keep it, and then continued to interrupt and demand he be given more questions.
After the 2-minute long fiasco, CNN quickly released a statement condemning the President and trying to frame the argument to be about an attack on the free press.
I guess Jim got what he was after. Almost instantly, the press conference dedicated to healing the divide was morphed into a national debate about free speech and Presidential power. This is why Conservatives call the Fake News an enemy of the people. President Trump took the time to hold a press conference and congratulate the Democrats on their victory and in return the media takes the opportunity to slander him further and bait a scandal. This type of political activism used to shift headlines on subjects that sow division amongst the American people don’t have to be tolerated by the President because of “free speech”.
At the end of the day, these events are run by the White House. The President is simply asking that journalists limit their questions to when they’re called upon and give up the microphone when asked. Trust me, Jim, if people wanted your views on policy you’re ratings would be much higher.