So much for the idea that news media are in cahoots. At Wednesday’s press conference, Donald Trump dismissed CNN’s Jim Acosta with “You are fake news,” and his colleagues sat on their hands.
Acosta tried to ask a question in the wake of Trump’s criticizing the network for reporting the existence of a briefing report about Russian ties to Trump — based on unconfirmed details of a sensational dossier posted by BuzzFeed and then others.
“Since you are attacking us, can you give us a question?” Acosta yelled.
“I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump replied. “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news!”
When other reporters failed to defend Acosta, a civil war broke out about media responsibility.
MediaMatters wrote: “On the campaign trail last January, President-elect Donald Trump bragged that he ‘could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.’ Today during his press conference, Trump did the rhetorical equivalent to CNN reporter Jim Acosta, and the assembled reporters did nothing.”
Matt Gertz continued: “Trump treats reporters like conquered foes who he can manhandle at will. If they can’t figure out a way to stand up together and for one another, he will pick them off one by one and grind the free press into the dirt.”
At least ABC showed some solidarity:
Fortunately ABC’s Cecilia Vega asked my question about whether any Trump associates contacted Russians. Trump said no.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 11, 2017
— CNN (@CNN) January 11, 2017
Supporters of Acosta and a fearless free press jumped in.
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