So CNN’s Jim Acosta scored some court points with a ruling that orders the White House to give back his press pass, at least for the time being.
But he still presents as a smug elitist.
He presented as an out-of-touch elitist the day he jerked away from the arm of the reaching White House intern — the day he refused to cede the microphone and cede the floor and cede his time to the many other journalists who were patiently waiting to pose questions to the president.
But post-ruling, caught on camera walking from the courthouse, Acosta moved a shade snippier into outright smug zone.
Now the story is all about him. Not that it wasn’t already — seriously, does anyone even remember the line of questioning that drove Acosta to take the path of least courteous in the first place? In a phrase: Google search.
But now the story has morphed to Acosta versus the White House. Acosta versus the president. The little CNN guy takes on the big bad Donald Trump wolf. It’s ‘look at me, I’m Jim Acosta and I’m taking on the president.’ Why? Why, ‘because I can, dang it.’
This is not what journalism is about.
This is not why reporters have a First Amendment.
It’s one thing to be persistent in questioning, dogged in reporting, committed in truth-digging, determined in watchdogging. It’s another thing entirely to be a rude boor — who then plays victim when accountability for the rude boorish behavior strikes.
As it’s been pointed out repeatedly: CNN has dozens of other journalists with White House credentials. Acosta’s not necessary to the cable outlet’s pursuit of presidential news. Not really.
On top of that — this president isn’t exactly tight-mouth with the press. He speaks to all members of the media, pretty much any time, all the time, even when members of his own inner circle probably whisper for him to stop. In other words, Acosta didn’t have to go rude to get his questions heard. Not only had the president, in fact, had already answered him several times. But this president probably would’ve answered the same questions from Acosta at a different time, a different place, too.
But Acosta apparently didn’t want that.
He instead chose the path of courtroom drama, of long, drawn-out, media-spotlighted legal battle.
And now, sit back and watch.
Prepare for the upcoming round of media cycles, all about Poor Jim Acosta’s Ordeal.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.