In a blog entitled “The Acosta affair: An unpopular opinion,” the BBC’s Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis has stood by Donald Trump over his feud with CNN chief White House reporter Jim Acosta at a press conference in the wake of the midterm elections.
She dismissed the mainstream opinion that Acosta had emerged as the ‘hero of the hour,’ and ‘the fighter for all our press freedom,’ when he kept asking POTUS questions, while 45 had decided that the reporter had had his turn.
“What happened in that room was not the ultimate fight for press freedom. This wasn’t someone risking life and limb against a regime where freedom of speech is forbidden. This was a bloke sitting in a room full of colleagues who were all trying to ask questions too. This was a man who’d had his turn and had been told he couldn’t hog the whole time,” Maitlis wrote.
The BBC journalist further emphasised that once the CNN incident was over, Trump continued taking questions from other reporters from across the world, and the interaction lasted for an hour and a half.
“He was called on by Donald Trump to ask whatever question he liked. And when he’d finished asking one, he then asked another – with interruption follow-ups in between. It was only when he attempted his third question – or possibly fourth depending on how you define the follow-ups – that the president got angry and asked him to sit down,” she continued.
Her comment garnered considerable support on social media, with many users saying that Acosta was disrespectful to his colleagues:
Acosta requires etiquette training.— Susan Borget (@chiefzarina) 8 November 2018
Simple as that!
He is disrespectful to his fellow reporters by his actions!
Surely, there must be a protocol handout for all privileged Press to follow.
I am so over these arrogant, unruly,and mannerless reporters!
Shame on them!
He deserved it! He is disrepectfull and he thinks he is the best among the reporters present inside the WH. Shame on Jim Acosta.— Karl🇵🇭🇨🇦🇬🇧🇺🇸🇮🇱 (@karl1809) 8 November 2018
Jim looks like a zero not a hero, he comes across as a spoiled brat that needs discipline.— Steve Mauk (@stevemauk) 8 November 2018
Acosta no hero! Rude! Im not a trump supporter but what he did was planned, n BS! Was asked to sit down several times in order to take otherquestions. CNN is truly fake news ran by unprofessional ppl!— Mark (@Mrk4sa) 9 November 2018
…and others praising Maitlis for 'telling the truth even if it is unpopular':
That's what a real journalist will do: tell the truth even if it is unpopular! You have my respect BBC!— Crazy man (@NotesFou) 8 November 2018
Very fair and bravo to the author for being actually fair.— Sevv09 on Mixer (@Sevv09) 8 November 2018
The CNN reporter then wondered whether POTUS had demonised them, and Trump responded negatively, stressing that he wanted them to come into the country, but legally.
Acosta tried to interrupt him and went on with follow-ups, and when Trump said that it was enough, the journalist seemingly ignored him and made continuous attempts to ask another question about the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election until a White House staffer took the microphone away from him.
After Acosta gave up and sat down, Trump began to school him:
“CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person; you shouldn’t be working for CNN. You are a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee [Sanders] is horrible. And the way you treat other people is horrible. You shouldn’t treat people that way,” Trump said.
Following the row at the conference, Acosta’s press pass to the White House was revoked.