CNN reporter Jim Acosta passionately defended the free press on Wednesday night during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and explained why Trump supporters are wrong to attack journalists for fact-checking the president.
Acosta’s public profile has risen in recent weeks due to President Donald Trump’s frequent attacks on him during press conferences, but it was an exchange with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in which he challenged her to concede that the press is not the “enemy of the people” that has drawn a lot of attention and praise.
“What if we just do nothing?” Acosta asked in response to those who think the press should not hold Trump accountable for what he says and does.
He then went on to explain the press would not have to fact-check Trump if he didn’t tell lies.
“We push back on these falsehoods on a daily basis,” he said. “This is why there are a lot of folks who support the president who are upset with us right now. They take that in and they think we’re just bashing the president all day long. Are we supposed to do the news and not fact-check the president when he is obviously just telling whoppers one after another?”
Acosta then talked about Trump supporters and their disdain for CNN.
“A lot of these people are well-intentioned,” he began “You know, they care about their country. I totally understand that. They really like this president, but they’ll ask me, ‘Why don’t you report the good things he does?’ I said, ‘Listen, we just talked about the jobs numbers last Friday. We had good jobs numbers last Friday.” And they say, ‘OK. well, do you like the president?’ And I said, ‘That’s not relevant. I don’t have to like the president of the United States. He doesn’t have to like me. We have jobs to do.’”
He also defended the press against Trump’s vicious attacks.
“All of our anchors, our photographers around the world, our producers, some of my fellow reporters who go into war zones and put their lives on the line, they’re not the enemy of the people,” Acosta said. “My colleagues at ABC, CBS, NBC and yes, Fox News, they’re not the enemy of the people either. In a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people there’s no such thing as an enemy of the people.”
Here’s the video via YouTube.
The press is supposed to ask questions to hold those in power accountable for their words and actions. That’s why freedom of the press is enshrined in the Constitution. Without it, any government official would be able to say anything and make any claim and no one would be around to challenge them. Trump hates the press because he wants everyone to believe his lies. Our Founding Fathers understood that the press is a check on our government and that democracy cannot thrive without it. People need a free press, and by attacking the free press, Trump is attacking the people and their right to be informed. That’s why journalists like Acosta should be revered in this country.
Featured Image: YouTube screenshot