CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta confronted Breitbart reporter Charlie Spiering about why the conservative media refused to "accept the facts" instead of reflexively defending false statements made by President Donald Trump.
During a Newseum panel discussion about covering the presidency, Acosta noted that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has a difficult job because he is forced to defend false statements like the assertion that President Barack Obama "wiretapped" Trump Tower.
"Intelligence tells us at this point that there wasn't even any unlawful surveillance going on and that [former National Security Adviser] Susan Rice didn't do anything wrong," Acosta said. "The level of exhaustion that he must be feeling right now having to deal with this president."
Spiering argued that Acosta's attitude was what was "infuriating" to readers at Breitbart because he was "so willing to exonerate Susan Rice."
"They take a completely hostile tone towards the president," Spiering said of CNN. "When it comes to people like Susan Rice, they are not taking the same tone of hostility. And a lot of the news they publish on that, I think a lot of our readers see that as coming from one side."
"They are getting more of their talking points, a good portion of their sources from their Democratic friends," he continued. "They didn't vote for the president... I think there is a difference in tone coming from the mainstream media vs. Breitbart."
Acosta replied with a question: "Do you think when the president originally tweeted that 'Barack Obama wiretapped me at Trump Tower. It's like McCarthy. It's like Watergate.' Do you think in the back of his mind he was thinking, 'Oh yeah, Susan Rice, she unmasked some people and that's what I really meant when I tweeted that'?"
"My question is, why can't the folks on the conservative side of the news media just see the facts as they are?" Acosta wondered. "I mean, don't you agree, Charlie, that those tweet on their face are just wrong? The president was not wiretapped at Trump Tower by Barack Obama?"
Spiering, however, insisted that there was an "element of truth that comes from his tweets."
"We're not talking about an element of truth," Acosta interrupted. "How about just the truth. Why can't we just have the truth? That's my question."