In an afternoon session at the Citizen CNN event, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman and SiriusXM’s chief Washington correspondent Olivier Knox (president of the White House Correspondents’ Association) sat down with The Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer for a discussion about covering President Trump.
It has been well-established at this point in time that Acosta is the least liked reporter among those in the Trump administration, and among the president’s most passionate supporters. There’s no love lost on Acosta’s side either, who referred to the president as “a deceptive, dishonest person … the original birther in chief” during today’s discussion.
“I think he goes after the press—and this is what I’ve been told time and again—as sort of an ‘act’ … I’ve been told by so many people that this is an act and he’s just doing his reality TV shtick, and instead of ‘you’re fired,’ it’s ‘you’re fake news,'” said Acosta.
The thing that people don’t get is that this is an act,” he continued. “They think this is deadly serious and so they take up the cause and they come after us.”
Acosta conceded that previous administrations have had adversarial relationships with the press … “but this is on a totally different level,” said Acosta.
Blitzer asked Acosta what it’s like covering the typical Trump political rally.
“If you want to ask me what makes me most depressed about my job, it’s covering the rallies,” said Acosta. “It gets to the larger point of what it’s like covering the president of the United States, and in particular Donald Trump … In many ways the danger is not what Trump is doing to America, the danger is how America is changing under Trump.”
Acosta did cite instances where he had been heckled at rallies during previous administrations, but nothing like this.
“Having the president whip people up at rally after rally after rally is the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen as a journalist.”