President Donald Trump’s war against the free press has gone on for a long time, during which he has developed a disdain for CNN like no other news outlet.
From tweets to hurling insults during rallies, Trump has resorted to absolutely every means he can in branding CNN, and other outlets like NBC and The New York Times, as “Fake News” and “enemy of the people.”
Things escalated even further when CNN’s chief correspondent to The White House, Jim Acosta, was heckled and harassed by Trump supporters at his Tampa rally, during which the POTUS again went on a bizarre tirade aginst the media, calling them “fake, fake, disgusting news.”
During his appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Acosta donned American Flag socks, which he jokingly said are from “the enemy of the people collection,” and discussed his experience at the Tampa rally and the president’s increasingly negative rhetoric aginst the press.
The journalist said he will continue his quest for truth even if he is repeatedly singled out by the president because that is the job he needs to do.
“What if we just do nothing?” Acosta asked, hypothetically. “What? Do we just do nothing?
Acosta also addressed the dangers of Trump calling the free press “the enemy of the people.” He recently got into a verbal spat with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders over the same topic after she refused to condemn the president’s remarks.
“All of our anchors, our photographers around the world, our producers, some of my fellow reporters who go into war zones and put their lives on the line, they’re not the enemy of the people,” he said. “My colleagues at ABC, CBS, NBC and yes, Fox News, they’re not the enemy of the people either. In a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people there’s no such thing as an enemy of the people.”
Discussing his experience at the Tampa rally, he said he didn’t blame the Trump supporters but that they were more worried about the “coverage” of the president’s behavior than the president’s behavior.
“A lot of these people are well-intentioned,” Acosta said. “You know, they care about their country. I totally understand that. They really like this president, but they’ll ask me, ‘Why don’t you report the good things he does?’ I said, ‘Listen, we just talked about the jobs numbers last had good jobs numbers last Friday.” And they say, ‘OK. well, do you like the president?’ And I said, ‘That’s not relevant. I don’t have to like the president of the United States. He doesn’t have to like me. We have jobs to do.'”
“A lot of these folks get their impressions of what we do by watching other conservative outlets, they look at other conservative websites,” he continued. “And a lot of these folks are more focused on the coverage of the president’s behavior more than they are the president’s behavior. And to me, I think the president’s behavior is more newsworthy than our coverage.”
The journalist added once he talked to them face-to-face, they tend to calm down. Some even took selfies with him later.
The CNN journalist said a lot of these supporters’ rhetoric gets shaped by those who want to do “Trump’s bidding” regardless of his behavior.
Acosta vowed to continue asking questions, despite his treatment by the president.
“When you insult our news organization, when you call us ‘fake news,’ the way I look at it, hey, that’s calling on me for a question,” he explained. “So I am going to push back. I don’t think we do ourselves any good, Stephen, if we shy away from these hard questions.”
He brought about the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies and treatment of immigrants, claiming the administration will be called out and has to answer for their acts.
“If you can take children away from their parents on the border and put them in cages,” Acosta said, “if you think you can demonize immigrants and call them rapists and criminals, if you think that you can distort the sense of reality that we all have on a daily basis by telling lie after lie and falsehood after falsehood and not face any hard questions, I think you’re just not living in the same United States of America that I live in.”
CNN has regularly reported on the Trump administration, often fact-checking and debunking many untrue claims made by the president.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Carlos Barria