CNN Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta has published his new book The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America, recounting his story of what it is like to cover events relating to the President.
As a reporter most often seen sparring with President Donald Trump, Acosta has often been accused by the President himself of being a “rude, terrible person” spreading lies and “fake news.” As a result, Trump supporters see him as a figure who reflects deep media bias, while many on the left see him as someone pushing back against the president’s lies.
A perfect example, described in the reporter’s book, is an interaction he had with a Trump supporter that clearly demonstrates how the media is perceived in the eyes of these people as a result of Trump’s frequent berating of journalists.
Acosta explains how during a Trump rally last year he had an ordinary, yet telling interaction with one of the President’s supporters, who seemed confused by the fact Acosta recited the pledge of allegiance and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“I thought to myself, Yes, I know the pledge and the national anthem. I’m an American,” Acosta writes. “But the moment spoke volumes. Members of the press have been so savaged by Trump and his propagandists in the media that journalists seem almost foreign or anti-American to his supporters.”
The Enemy of the People also presents Acosta’s side of his most famous confrontation with Trump, following which his White House access was briefly revoked.
“I don’t believe reporters are supposed to be the story. That’s how I was trained. But at that press conference, I had faced a choice: Do we just absorb Trump’s attacks? Or do we push back and stand up for ourselves?” he writes.
But NPR writes that in his book, Acosta appears to express a belief that he is entitled to offer his personal opinions and that doing so “is even an act of bravery or public service.” It further notes that rather than being a reporter, Acosta has turned into a commentator of events taking place in the White House and the President’s administration.
Over the weekend he gave an interview for CBS, speaking about the pipe bombs mailed to CNN and what he called “other Democratic targets” by Trump supporters encouraged by the President’s rhetoric. This slip of the tongue clearly shows Acosta has accepted Trump’s portrayal of the media as the opposition, while also adopting his combative style in writing, “I don’t recall Trump ever apologizing for his behavior. Hey, if they can do it, my thought was, why can’t we?”