Liberal CNN reporter Jim Acosta pledged last month that the network would be as tough on the Biden administration as on the Trump administration, while simultaneously complimenting the new White House for lowering the political temperature.
Acosta, who was removed from his White House assignment as Joe Biden took office, addressed the Association of Foreign Correspondents from his new perch as CNN’s domestic correspondent on Feb. 24.
“Since the ending of Donald Trump’s term as president,” the AFC’s Tiara James wrote in a story about Acosta’s remarks, “Acosta mentioned that it’s as if the volume’s been turned down and said he believes everybody wanted a break from the toxicity of the past administration – which is essentially what the U.S. is getting with the Biden Administration.”
“Even though tensions in White House briefings have been alleviated, Acosta made sure to say, “We’ll be just as tough on the Biden Administration as we were on the Trump Administration.'”
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That proclamation may raise some eyebrows given CNN’s transition into a sharply anti-Trump network over the past five years. Its promotion of the outspoken Acosta as an unbiased reporter as well as its unabashedly left-wing primetime and media reporter lineup, and reliance on snarky chyrons undermined its previous reputation as a just-the-facts news organization.
On the other hand, CNN greeted Biden’s presidency with open arms; Anderson Cooper described his inauguration was a “new beginning,” media correspondent Brian Stelter gushed over the “refreshing” new press office, and in the first week, CNN hyped a report claiming the Biden White House inherited no vaccine distribution plan from the Trump administration, which was immediately refuted by officials and other media outlets.
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Acosta was best-known during the Trump era for editorializing and breaking news about himself rather than grabbing scoops, drawing criticism even from fellow mainstream media colleagues. Trump and Acosta made no secret of their mutual disdain, with the former calling the latter a “terrible person” during one exchange in 2018.
Acosta’s heavy-handed moments included proclaiming all correspondents should chant “We are not the enemy of the people” at the White House, scolding Kim Kardashian West for visiting Trump to discuss criminal justice reform, and quoting the Statue of Liberty during an immigration spat with policy adviser Stephen Miller.
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Acosta, who wrote a book about his experiences covering the Trump White House and once posted this photograph, touted the importance of humility to young journalists.
“Being grounded and being humble and thinking about where you came from and so on can get you pretty far in this business,” he said.