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Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.
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Trump goes after Acosta again; CNN calls his attacks on press ‘un-American’

Originally posted Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The battle between Donald Trump and his favorite media foil CNN continued today the day after the midterm election.

During a press conference, Trump recoiled at a question by CNN reporter Jim Acosta about an ad Trump’s campaign released right before the election many networks rejected because it was deemed misleading an and racist. 

When Acosta refused to sit down and relinquish his mic, Trump said, “I’ll tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.”

CNN sent out this sharp rebuke in a statement: 

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"This President's ongoing attacks on the press have gone too far. They are not only dangerous, they are disturbingly un-American. While President Trump has made it clear he does not respect a free press, he has a sworn obligation to protect it. A free press is vital to democracy, and we stand behind Jim Acosta and his fellow journalists everywhere."

Before Trump called Acosta a “rude, terrible person,” he parried back and forth over using the term “invasion” to describe Central American migrants traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Acosta said the ad he used implied they were at the U.S. border’s doorstep when in fact, "they're hundreds and hundreds of miles away. That's not an invasion."

"You know what? I think you should," Trump said. "Honestly, I think you should let me run the country. You run CNN. And if you did it well, your ratings would be much better."

When a female White House aide tried to take the mic away from him, he resisted. [UPDATE: The White House later accused him of placing his hand on her and revoked his press access. CNN said the revocation "was done in retaliation for his challenging questions at today's press conference. In an explanation, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders lied. She provided fraudulent accusations and cited an incident that never happened. This unprecedented decision is a threat to our democracy and the country deserves better. Jim Acosta has our full support."]

When Trump moved on to Peter Alexander of NBC News, Alexander defended Acosta: "I've traveled with him and watched him, he is a diligent reporter who busts his butt like the rest of us."

"Well I'm not a big fan of yours either, to be honest," Trump said. (He has critiqued NBC coverage of him as well.)

Trump has gone after CNN and Acosta many times before. He has regularly dubbed the press the “enemy of the people” and “fake news.” 

And as he did with the phrase “fake news,” he took a term commonly used by the left and twisted it. In this case, during the press conference, he used the phrase “voter suppression” to describe CNN polls he claimed suppressed people from voting. 

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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