Obviously the thing to do when the president is attacking you every day as “fake news” is to promote the most preening agenda-driven reporter you’ve got.
Silver lining: Jim Acosta’s shtick plays well enough with CNN’s “resistance”-heavy audience that they’ve mulled making him an anchor and giving him his own show, despite grumbling in-house about his sanctimonious anti-Trump peacocking. Making him chief White House correspondent might have been Jeff Zucker’s way of *limiting* his camera time.
Although firing him would limit it too, wouldn’t it?
CNN has announced a number of new assignments for its White House and Washington-based correspondents, timed to the start of President Trump’s second year in office.
Jim Acosta has been named CNN’s chief White House correspondent. Acosta has covered the Obama and Trump White Houses for CNN since 2013.
They were already a cinch to win “Worst Network” at the presidential Fakey Awards. This is just Jeff Zucker spiking the football. A few highlights from year one of Acosta’s coverage of the Trump White House:
— He scolded Trump for holding a “fake news” press conference, then got a key fact wrong in trying to correct Trump’s facts.
— He asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether the White House gets some weird satisfaction whenever Trump says something that freaks people out. Later in the year, he ignored a warning not to shout questions at Trump at an Oval Office pool spray and shouted one anyway, then spent the rest of the day congratulating himself on the air and on Twitter for his own defiance.
— After whining for weeks about the White House holding the daily briefing off-camera, he took advantage of the cameras’ return to grandstand by jousting with Stephen Miller over immigration. Even Trump-hater Joe Scarborough found it obnoxious. Acosta responded to the criticism by claiming that he had owned Miller and then by tweeting a poem.
As Zucker sees it, his pro-Trump panelists are not just spokespeople for a worldview; they are “characters in a drama,” members of CNN’s extended ensemble cast. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you have Jeffrey Lord or Kayleigh McEnany,’ but you know what?” Zucker told me with some satisfaction. “They know who Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany are.”
Lord and McEnany are both long gone but the “drama” remains. Who’s going to give you more drama at the daily White House briefing, some down-the-middle rando or the human furrowed brow that is Jim Acosta? Plus, in fairness to Zucker, Trump has given him no incentive to behave better. He bashes CNN so often that the network has somehow surpassed overtly left-wing MSNBC as MAGAworld’s chief journalistic hate object. Zucker could rehire Lord and make him the White House correspondent and that’s probably not going to change. So he might as well own the #Resistance brand and try to wring however many extra liberal viewers he can from that.
Here’s Stephen Miller dumping on CNN last night on Fox News after his Sunday throwdown with Jake Tapper. This aired a few hours after Tapper had warned his viewers not to place too trust in Michael Wolff’s Trump-bashing book given how many errors in it have already been discovered.