At Thursday’s press briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to say that the press is not the enemy of the people, referring to President Donald Trump’s frequent messaging on the subject of “fake news”:
They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2018
Acosta worded his question like this:
“I think it would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now … are not the enemy of the people.
All the people around the world are watching what you’re saying.”
But Sanders didn’t give Acosta what he wanted, instead speaking on “personal attacks [from the media] without any content other than to incite anger,” adding:
“The media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions, including your own network, CNN.”
As Sanders suggests, she can’t say otherwise because she speaks for the president, and the president has said the press IS the enemy of the people.
As I’ve noted, I do not think Trump should be calling the press the enemy of the people, whatever its faults. But CNN’s Acosta ironically reveals in his questioning one reason the press has become such a target.
Watch the exchange here:
The protocol in the press room, and among the press in general, used to be to simply ask questions, not make statements. We took ourselves out of it. I once stood next to Nelson Mandela and didn’t try to shake hands with him because that would make me part of the story. And I wasn’t the story.
Acosta makes statements. He makes it about himself. He makes it about the press, not about getting information. He’s done this repeatedly, as do others.
When you are a player in the dialogue, you open yourself up to attack. The press needs to go back to reporting the news and working a lot harder to get their bias out of what they report.