‘We are here not just to report the news now, we’re here to defend the truth…’
Acosta and Kimmel appeared to be trying to psychoanalyze Trump while relating one of the anecdotes contained in Acosta’s new tell-all book about his experiences as a frequent nemesis to the president.
“I feel like, deep down, maybe he kind of likes you even though he hates you,” Kimmel mused. “Of course, he mostly hates you—but sometimes he begrudgingly compliments you.”
Acosta then recounted a time when, after a press conference where Trump had referred to him as “very fake news,” then-Communications Director Hope Hicks had followed up and offered him some kind words.
“Jim, I just want you to know the president thought you were very professional today, and he said ‘Jim gets it,’” Acosta recalled Hicks saying.
“And I thought to myself, ‘Wait a minute, I was just very fake news five minutes ago, and now I’m very professional,'” he continued.
After accusing Trump of running the presidency like a reality television show, he and Kimmel settled on another theory: that the White House was sucking up so that Acosta would go easy on Trump.
“He loves the coverage but he hates the scrutiny,” Acosta said, “and one of the things that we find out, when we call him out on some of these falsehoods—some people call them lies—uh, you know, that’s when it gets under his skin, and his folks get very upset about it.”
In reality, what Acosta may have neglected to see was his own role in the exchange and how the Trump administration truly views him.
As many a parent or teacher has discovered, positive reinforcement—like the method Hicks used—is a frequent behavior modification technique when dealing with unruly children.
In the eyes of the White House, Acosta, and other members of the liberal media, have conducted themselves accordingly.
At no time was this more apparent than in April, when Press Secretary Sarah Sanders—having abandoned daily press briefings in January, due to the rude and disruptive conduct of Acosta and others—held a rare briefing with the children of the White House press corps to underscore the point.
Following frequent interruptions and a physical altercation with a White House staffer, Acosta had his press pass revoked in November, but CNN successfully challenged the decision in court, using an activist liberal judge to file an injunction.
The White House ultimately chose to abandon the case after issuing new guidelines for conduct. However, as often happens in elementary school classrooms, Acosta’s abusive conduct wound up losing the privilege of daily media briefings for the entire class.
The CNN correspondent groused over the unfairness of it during his appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel.”
“You know, this used to be when the press secretary would go and answer all of our questions. We don’t do that anymore,” Acosta said.
“Now Sarah Sanders, she goes out to the Fox News Live position on the North Lawn of the White House, takes questions from them, and then if she has time she’ll stop and talk to us for a few minutes in the driveway,” he said. “It’s not what the taxpayers are expecting from the press secretary. We pay their salaries, we should be getting our money’s worth.”
Ironically, while complaining about the lack of access, Acosta immediately followed up by relaying another story about how Trump had begrudgingly taken a question from him shortly after reinstating his press pass.
“They were saying, ‘We’re never gonna talk to Jim Acosta again, we’re never gonna take questions from him again,'” Acosta said. “The next day, after I got my press pass back, he took a question, he took a follow-up question…”
A picture of that occasion became the cover of Acosta’s book, Enemy of the People.
Acosta was quick to cite other hostile, liberal media outlets, like The Washington Post, claiming that Trump had issued 10,000 false or misleading statements during his presidency.
However, despite his own network’s frequent fixation on coverage of debunked conspiracies and sensationalist headlines, Acosta was steadfast in his insistence that by attacking Trump he was embarked on a noble and heroic quest.
“We’re there to hold their feet to the fire, and it doesn’t matter what they call us, what they try to do to us—we’re here to work on behalf of the American people and get answers to these questions.”
While he claimed many of those within the White House had lost sight of the fact that they worked for the people and not the Trump Organization, Acosta maintained that he, himself, was the truest public servant of them all.
“We are here not just to report the news now, we’re here to defend the truth,” he said.