No one has taken more bullets in President Trump’s war on the media than CNN’s Jim Acosta. Whether he’s in the White House press room during a press conference, or part of a gaggle of reporters covering an executive order signing or some other Oval Office event, or engaging with Trump supporters at one of his raucous campaign-style rallies, Acosta is a favorite and frequent target for the president, his staff, and his rabid followers.
Even in the virtual world, he can’t escape Trump’s cheap shots. He’s a frequent victim of the president’s tweets – and the right wing media that amplifies them for the echo chamber – whenever he feels like lashing out at news coverage he doesn’t like.
While lately Acosta has found himself locked in a near daily battle royale with current White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but his tussles with this administration began with Sanders’ predecessor, Sean Spicer.
Spicer departed this train wreck of a press shop nearly a year ago, and he’s taken pains to try to rehabilitate his reputation as the respected, principled Republican spokesperson he once was. Now he’s trying to relaunch his media career with a talk show, the New York Times learned last week.
The show’s working title is Common Ground with Sean Spicer, and it’s billed as a relaxed, day-time setting for political discussions, in contrast to the partisan, highly charged primetime shows across cable news that currently dominate.
“In this current environment, I think it’s important to have a platform where we can have civil, respectful, and informative discussions on the issues of the day,” Spicer told the Times.
The show is technically still in development and there’s guarantee it will ever air, let alone get picked up by a distributor. More from The Times:
No network is attached to the project, but the pilot episode, to be filmed in July, is backed by heavy hitters in the realm of unscripted television. Debmar-Mercury, the syndicator of daytime series including “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Family Feud,” is co-producing with Pilgrim Media Group, which has developed basic-cable staples like “American Chopper.”
In an attempt to both demonstrate the show’s premise and further recast himself as an honest broker who can heal the divisiveness in our political discourse – rather than someone who spent a year helping to elect and then enabling the man who’s done more to divide society than any president in recent memory – Spicer reached out to none other than Jim Acosta to appear on the show.
Acosta’s not buying it for one second, and his response to Spicer speaks volumes.
“We politely turned that down,” he told colleague Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday. “My sense of it is that Sean has crossed the line from being somebody who was a former press secretary to somebody who wants to resurrect his career and go on Fox News and bash CNN. And if he’s going to do that, I don’t think we should give him time to do that,” Acosta added.
Good for Jim Acosta. Wounds heal slowly, and now is not the time to normalize the president’s attacks on a free press.
You can watch Jim Acosta’s segment on today’s episode of Reliable Sources below: