June 10, 2019

On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter asked Jim Acosta if Kellyanne Conway's husband George is right. Is Donald Trump insane? And of course, Acosta has a book out.

JIM ACOSTA: I get asked this question from time to time. I tell folks I'm not a psychiatrist so I can assess the president's mental state, but I will tell you my sense of it is covering him for a pretty long period of time now is he's more crazy like a fox. Steve Bannon explains in an interview I had with him that, you know, what Trump tries to do is really control the narrative by saying sensational things that sound wild and nutty sometimes, and he does this because he knows it dominates the news cycle. That makes it a priority for us in the news business to talk about him nonstop, and he loves that, and he capitalizes on that.

BRIAN STELTER: Do you have any regrets?

ACOSTA: I wish at times that the press had been a bit more in solidarity with one another. and standing up to this White House and saying "Listen, President Trump, you can't call us 'the enemy of the people.' We won't go along with that." We missed some opportunities here and there to challenge that.

One thing I'm most grateful for during this experience is how just about every news organization in Washington and here in New York stood behind us here at CNN when they took away my press pass. that was a very important First Amendment case. Had the Trump administration won that case, Brian, it would have sent shockwaves through our industry. It would have put a real chilling effect on the First Amendment in this country, and people might say oh, you're just puffing yourself up. You're high on your own fumes. Now the Trump administration's own lawyers went into the courtroom and said the President of the United States can throw out whoever he wants out of the White House.

We couldn't have a situation like that. I was grateful; our entire industry stood behind us. Had they not, I think could it have worked out a different way. So I think, you know, it hasn't been perfect. We're all grappling with how do we cover this president? My sense is that we have to stand for truth. We're not just here to report the news. We're here also to defend the truth. When you have a president who has made, you know, 10,000 false or misleading statements since the beginning of his administration, you know that makes us fact checkers in real-time. Puts us in a position, unlike Republicans, who controlled the government for two years, sort of makes the case for the state of the press, the check on a presidency that sometimes goes outside the bounds of normal presidential behavior.

STELTER: Are you tired?

ACOSTA: Am I tired? You know, maybe after this is all and said and done with the book tour, I'll take a break. I love this job like you do. I feel this is an important time and the challenge that we're up against. I deeply and passionately believe that. I know you're a father, I'm a dad, I don't want our kids to grow up in a country where it's okay to say 'the press is the enemy.' It's not taking a stand on a political issue. It's taking a stand on an American issue. We should not be called 'the enemy of the people.' You're not my enemy. Trump supporters are not our enemy. So I hope if there's an overarching message that folks take away from this book, it's that they have a deep appreciation for what we do and one, listen, we're out here doing our jobs, and we're not the enemy.

I wish the Washington media was unified on walking out when someone at the White House lies to them repeatedly. I wish "truth" was the story, every day. I wish the media outlets weren't profit centers, so their concern for "access" wasn't so blatantly above their self-respect.

But Bush treated them like lap-dogs and doled out questions and access to good boys and girls. They let him get away with that, and now they've got no one to blame but themselves that Trump treats them like crap.

As is often the case, the chyron writers have lee-way the rest of the network does not.

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