At President Donald Trump’s post-midterm election press conference on Wednesday, November 7, CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta, asked President Trump about the alleged “caravan” of migrants presently making its way through Mexico. It was downhill from there.
Trump took issue with Acosta, who disagreed with the President’s “invasion” metaphor. The ensuing verbal confrontation between Acosta and the President resulted in an angry President Trump revoking Acosta's White House credentials. I watched the press conference live and witnessed the White House intern attempt to pull the microphone out of Mr. Acosta’s hand; Acosta respectfully resisted. I heard Donald Trump berate the reporter. Trump verbally attacked the man for no other reason than disliking the reporter’s question and persistence. Hours later, Acosta learned his White House press credentials had been suspended, which, in my opinion, is an unjustified, retaliatory action by the current administration and a clear attempt to suppress the media.
I did not think the verbal altercation at the press conference could be disputed. After all, it’s on tape, but lo and behold, there’s a new video, and it’s quite different than what I saw transpire at the White House. This morning, Sarah Sanders tweeted an allegedly doctored video of Acosta “putting hands” upon the White House intern, a behavior she condemns. (I can’t resist pointing out the obvious: Sanders publicly takes offense at a reporter “putting hands” on a female intern, but remains conspiratorially silent at the many reports of Donald Trump assaulting and degrading women. In posting the perhaps doctored video, Sanders, who has been consistently promoting Trump’s “fake news” agenda, has actually created real “fake news.” The irony is hard to miss.) CNN and the press corp support Acosta, and while I thought the public would stand behind him as well, not all Americans have.
A quick review of Facebook comments regarding Acosta’s confrontation with Trump and Acosta’s White House suspension reveals conflicting viewpoints. On one side, those who support the free press stand behind Acosta; the opposition posits Acosta was rude and aggressive with the intern. Thanks to Sanders’ misguided tweet, there is now evidence to support both arguments. Acosta is supported by the actual real-time recording of the event; Sanders and the Trump team now have their own video to corroborate their claims of reporter misconduct.
The varied reception of the Acosta/Trump confrontation proves people interpret events very differently. Perhaps we each assemble the jumbled pieces of the Trump puzzle based on our own personal regard for Donald Trump and his cohorts, or maybe the reason for the discrepancy is simply an inability to recognize bad manners when we see them. The person who knows the truth, the White House intern herself, isn’t talking.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of this political nonsense, weary of this never-ending game of “To Tell the Truth.” And I’m troubled by an administration that does not appreciate the free press. As the saying goes, “it is what it is,” but the fact that so many Americans are unable to see the truth might be the most troubling factor in all it.