CNN reporter Jim Acosta has made a name for himself by his outbursts against President Trump, including his questioning of both Trump and White House officials such as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at press conferences. A couple weeks ago Acosta showed up to the White House and found that his press credentials allowing him access to the White House grounds had been revoked.
After months of aggressive behavior from Acosta, the last straw was Acosta refusing to relinquish the microphone while questioning President Trump and physically preventing a young female intern from taking the microphone back. Those aren’t the actions of a legitimate critic of the President, they’re the actions of a bully. Acosta and CNN filed suit against the White House, winning a very limited decision that required that he be given due process before having his credentials seized.
The White House subsequently informed Acosta and CNN that he would lose his White House press pass again once the judge’s temporary order expired, but then changed tack and decided to restore Acosta’s pass while simultaneously adopting new rules of decorum to ensure that behavior like Acosta’s doesn’t occur in the future.
To use a Washington, DC analogy, Acosta is the press equivalent of the guy who always shows up to a think tank lecture and, despite the moderator’s announcement that Q&A is only for questions and not statements, proceeds to launch into a five-minute diatribe about why he’s right and everyone up on stage is an idiot. His behavior is embarrassing to watch and a discredit to journalists, which is why it’s so perplexing that both CNN and other press organizations such as Fox News defend him.
CNN could easily hire someone who asks hard-hitting questions but isn’t rude and who doesn’t mistreat interns. But we live in an era in which many people think that being an obnoxious jerk is synonymous with toughness, so until that mindset changes CNN and similar organizations will continue giving people like Acosta a platform. Let’s hope that the White House’s new rules will be effective in keeping people like Acosta who abuse their privileges from continuing to be able to act out in the way they have.