On Wednesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta accused President Donald Trump of undermining the First Amendment via criticisms of the news media industry. Joining a panel discussion at the Newseum entitled “Covering the Trump White House,” he blamed Trump for broad public distrust of the news media.
Criticizing CNN and similar news media outlets, suggested Acosta, was antithetical to American values. In defending his employer's journalistic bona fides, Acosta invoked White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon’s derision of CNN as part of the “opposition party" (emphases added):
“As much as people wanna beat up on CNN, and go after CNN, and ‘CNN sucks’ and that sort of thing, what [Breitbart News] does, I was with Steve Bannon the other day where he referred to us as the opposition party, once again. We’re not the opposition party. We are just trying to get at the truth. And when you have a side of the news media that just insists time and again that CNN is out to get the president or out to get certain people in this country, I think it just does a tremendous disservice to all Americans. I don’t think it is American to go after a segment of the news media.”
Acosta then lamented what he described as a lack of political congeniality across America, framing himself and his employer as agents in furtherance of national political unity:
“We have got to get to a point in this country when we’re not demonizing one another and going after each other and cutting each other’s throats because we don’t agree with one another.”
After saying that Americans - both Democrats and Republicans - need to trust their news media industry, Acosta suggested that undermining trust in news media outlets such as CNN amounts to an attack on the First Amendment:
"The president has to understand that he is doing real damage to what we do. He is doing real damage to the First Amendment in this country when he refers to the news media as the enemies of the people.
We need people to trust us. And I believe that [CNN and the broader news media have] been acting in a way that garners that trust.”
At no point in the discussion did Acosta acknowledge widespread left-wing and partisan Democrat biases at CNN and across the broader news media landscape.
Acosta presents himself as a politically neutral and non-partisan news media figure. CNN likewise presents itself as a politically neutral and non-partisan news media outlet, marketing itself as “The Most Trusted Name In News.”
Watch the panel discussion below:
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