CNN's Jim Acosta shot down Sarah Huckabee Sanders' laughable claims about Trump's support for the press.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to brag about the Trump administration’s ostensible record of encouraging press freedom. But CNN’s Jim Acosta wasn’t having it.
At Wednesday’s White House briefing, reporters asked Sanders about a recent Reporters Without Borders study in which the United States dropped to 45th in a world ranking of press freedom. Sanders claimed that her willingness to answer questions “unvetted” was evidence of the Trump administration’s devotion to press freedom.
But Acosta challenged Sanders later in the briefing, and afterwards told anchor Brooke Baldwin how ludicrous Sanders’ claims were.
“She feels because she come up to the podium and answers questions, that somehow makes them champions of the free press,” Acosta said. “Just about any city council spokesperson, or mayoral spokesperson or gubernatorial spokesperson does that all over the country. I’m not sure that exactly makes you a champion of the press.”
Acosta pointed out that Trump “hasn’t had a full press conference with the press in over a year, calls people the ‘enemy of the people’ and ‘fake news,’ and threatens The Washington Post.”
As he put it plainly, “That is not champion of the free press.”
Trump’s record of hostility also earned him a spot on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ top press oppressors in January. That prompted Fox News to offer the ridiculous argument that Trump didn’t deserve the ranking because he hasn’t murdered journalists.
Acosta knows only too well how vicious Trump and his administration can be toward the press. Just days before his inauguration, Trump attacked Acosta during a press conference. That hostility continued unabated, and included an unprecedented ejection from the Oval Office, which Acosta described as a “badge of honor.”
Trump has also labeled other journalists as “enemies.” Just this week, he snapped at ABC News’ Jon Karl for asking a legitimate question. And Trump’s attacks on reporter April Ryan have been followed by death threats from his supporters.
Trump and his administration show no sign of relenting in their hostility toward the press. And despite the threats, reporters like Acosta show no sign of backing down from doing their jobs.