A left-leaning news publication published an article this week profiling CNN’s Jim Acosta, suggesting that the White House correspondent has “lost the fight” and become a “performance journalist” rather than a real reporter.
The Atlantic published “Jim Acosta’s Dangerous Brand of Performance Journalism” on Tuesday, which accuses the professional provocateur of “amplifying the president’s anti-press campaign.”
“Whenever a reporter who has not been kidnapped by terrorists, shot by an assailant, or won a big prize becomes an actor in her own story, she has lost the fight,” The Atlantic’s Todd Purdum wrote. “Or in this case, reinforced the corrosive, cynical, and deeply dangerous feedback loop that has convinced Trump’s most fervent supporters that his relentless brief against the press has merit: FAKE NEWS! SAD!”
Purdue noted that the White House press briefings have become “a circus of reportorial self-expression” and “self-promotion,” things that Acosta has seemingly built his personal brand on.
The profile specifically references a recent exchange between Acosta and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in which Acosta asked Sanders if she thought the press was an enemy of the American people.
“I think it would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press, the people who are gathered in this room right now, are doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier, are not the enemy of the people,” Acosta ranted. “I … I think we … we deserve that.”
Purdue notes that when Sanders tried to respond, Acosta “interrupted her repeatedly … then cut off his colleagues to demand a follow-up,” and after Sanders did not give him the answer he wanted, he stormed out of the briefing room like a child.
Today I demanded a woman say what I wanted her to say, and when she said something different and critical of me, I stormed out. https://t.co/B2uBTeEP3m
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 2, 2018
The profile adds that Acosta’s “florid” and “vivid” confrontational style “plays directly into Trump’s received narrative about a hostile, combative, and even unfair press.”
Purdue concludes that “Acosta’s broadside blurs the line between reporting and performance, between work and war, at a time when journalists have a greater obligation than ever to demonstrate that what they do is real, and matters—and is not just part of the passing show.”