Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer can’t name a single CNN reporter he felt did “good work” during his time in the Trump administration.
During an interview with The Washington Post this week, Spicer was asked which White House reporters “did good work” and the former press secretary was able to rattle off eight names, including Fox News’ John Roberts and NBC News’ Carol Lee, before adding, “I’m missing a bunch, for sure.”
Spicer was then asked if forgot to include anyone from CNN who did good work during his time in the White House.
“Oh, no,” Spicer responded.
While it’s clear that the Trump administration isn’t a fan of CNN in general, the comment can also be interpreted as a subtle personal dig at the network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Trump and Acosta have famously traded jabs since the president called Acosta “fake news” during a press conference earlier this year. If Spicer was going to compliment anyone from CNN, it would presumably have been the reporter he dealt with on a regular basis — but the former press secretary failed to mention Acosta when he had the chance.
Acosta comes off as combative toward the White House on a regular basis and some insiders feel his grandstanding was one reason press briefings weren’t televised over an extended period this summer. In addition to Trump and Spicer, Acosta sparred with White House adviser Stephen Miller last month over the administration’s immigration policy. Miller famously accused the CNN reporter of having a “cosmopolitan bias.”
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Meanwhile, Politico recently reported that some CNN staffers feel Acosta’s reporting is biased.
“There is also a view inside the network’s newsroom that Acosta has been given the latitude, perhaps even the implicit assignment, to turn the briefing room into a personal editorial page because it is good television and reaffirms CNN’s integral role in the ongoing drama,” Politico’s Benn Strauss wrote.
Citing a senior person in CNN’s newsroom, Strauss reported that some “rank-and-file” employees feel Acosta’s approach “isn’t straight news,” but is approved by high-level executives. The same report noted that Acosta has emailed directly with CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker during at least one news conference in which Trump became visibly annoyed with the reporter.