CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is a man to whom I can relate. More or less.
He made an appearance last night on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and asserted that the media aren’t supposed to be the story they are covering. Indeed, Acosta has become a media “celebrity” because of his frequent public clashes with White House press officials — notably press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Plus, Donald J. Trump continues to single out Acosta and CNN as purveyors of what he calls “fake news.”
The Hill reports: “Do you worry that the president points at y’all so much and there’s a natural need to respond as a human being that you end up being the story when that’s not really the goal of your journalism?” Colbert asked Acosta on the CBS “Late Show” host Wednesday night.
“We’re not supposed to be the story, you know. That’s not why I’m out there,” Acosta responded. “I get accused of that from time to time, and my attitude is ‘Listen, I’m allowed to care about this country as much as anybody else.'”
I, too, lament the way the media have become part of the story. In a perfect world — and this one has never been perfect — the media would report the news and remain in the shadows. I liken it to the sports referee who no one notices, until the ref does something stupid or otherwise noteworthy.
The president chooses to make the media the story by continuing to hammer them over the way they cover his administration.
He won’t simply allow the media to do their job. He won’t accept that not all news is positive. He doesn’t recognize the media’s role in holding public officials accountable. Therefore, he ratchets up the volume whenever he fires off those tweets accusing the media of being the “enemy of the people.”
That all said, the notion that Acosta would agree to appear on a late-night TV show with a host who has been notably critical of the president suggests that he isn’t exactly walking the walk in terms of seeking anonymity.
His message about the media’s role — as the chronicler of events — is on point. The media mustn’t become “the story,” and that precludes CNN’s chief White House reporter from appearing on a national TV show.