Heading into Jim Acosta’s triumphant appearance on CBS’s The Late Show Wednesday night, CNN’s chief White House correspondent received some surprise criticism from lefty outlet The Atlantic as staff writer Todd S. Purdum called him out Tuesday for living up to the verb closely associated to his name (accost) and making himself the story when it should be reporting the news.
Purdum referred in the piece (entitled “Jim Acosta’s Dangerous Brand of Performance Journalism”) to Trump as being “Stalinist,” but his take carried more weight considering the fact that he was a New York Times White House correspondent in the 1990s during the height of Bill Clinton’s chicanery.
To Purdum’s credit, he spent three lengthy paragraphs essentially admitting how pointless White House Press Briefings having become, dubbing it “a circus of reportorial self-expression, and sometimes sel-promotion.” He also cited an instance where he tussled with then-Press Secretary Mike McCurry in 1996 and realized that the spotlight he gained wasn’t “valuable” to his job of reporting.
Purdum spent most of the piece through the lens of Acosta’s August 2 verbal duel with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when he asked her to condemn the President’s repeated assertion that the news media are the “enemy of the people” and, of course, Sanders didn’t take the bait.
Spilling plenty of ink condemning Trump, Purdum had plenty left for Acosta and pointed out that a reporter shouldn’t be the story and going about a precarious situation doesn’t necessary call for a bellicose response.