During a press conference Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump got into a heated exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta after the reporter stood up and began shouting out questions.
“You’re attacking us, can you give us a question? Mr. President-elect, since you are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance? You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir? … Mr. President-elect, can you give us a question?” yelled Acosta, interrupting other reporters in the room.
“Don’t be rude,” Trump responded. “No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
“Mr. President-elect, that’s not appropriate!” Acosta said.
While Trump has expressed some degree of contempt for many members of the mainstream media, he has long battled CNN and seemed particularly irritated after the media outlet Tuesday reported on an unsubstantiated intelligence report about him. BuzzFeed followed up by publishing the salacious allegations in the so-called dossier on Trump, while acknowledging its claims were “unverified” and it contained errors.
Although the reporting on the unsubstantiated allegations was widely criticized, CNN did have one surprising defender Wednesday evening.
Shepard Smith from rival Fox News came to the network’s aid, saying CNN had conducted itself professionally and with journalistic integrity.
“President-elect Trump today told CNN’s Jim Acosta the his organization amounts to fake news.” Smith said during his segment.
“CNN’s exclusive reporting on the Russian matter was separate and distinctly different from the document dump executed by an online news property,” said Smith, referring to BuzzFeed.
“Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN’s report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards,” he continued.
While it is true that CNN’s report doesn’t include the dossier on Trump — the media outlet stated it is “not reporting on details of the memos, as it has not independently corroborated the specific allegations” — its story does provide a prominent link to the BuzzFeed report with the unverified allegations.
Smith then took things further, stating that no reporters should be subjected to such treatment by Trump.
“Neither they [CNN] nor any other journalists should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the president-elect of the United States,” he declared.
Many who have followed Trump’s political career will likely find such comments ironic, as Trump has been the subject of delegitimization and belittlement by numerous members of the press for well over a year.
Furthermore, Trump’s comments came after the CNN reporter refused to wait his turn, repeatedly interrupting his colleagues.
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