CNN’s Jim Acosta accused President Donald Trump of “fake news” on Thursday for claiming that “three of four” intelligence agencies had identified Russia as the culprit in hacking during the 2016 presidential election — but the president was right, and Acosta was wrong.
Last week, the New York Times was forced to issue a correction, admitting that “17 intelligence agencies” had not, in fact, accused Russia, as Hillary Clinton had once claimed.
The correction read, in part (original emphasis):
The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.
But Acosta, who is CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent, appears not to have read the Times.
He repeated the debunked “17 intelligence agencies” claim on CNN’s New Day Thursday morning (via the Washington Examiner):
“The other thing that was ‘fake news’ coming from President Trump is when he said, well, I keep hearing it’s 17 intelligence agencies that say Russia meddled in the election, I think it’s only three or four,” Acosta said. “Where does that number come from? Where does this ‘three or four’ number come from? My suspicion … is that if we go to the administration and ask them for this question, I’m not so sure we’re going to get an answer.”
Acosta also drew ridicule on Twitter on Thursday morning for complaining that President Trump only called on one reporter in his press conference in Poland, and that the reporter — Daily Mail U.S. political editor David Martosko — was allegedly “an ally of the White House.” Martosko, whose political views could be described as center-right, briefly considered working for the administration, but was respected by all news outlets — including CNN — as the informal leader of the traveling press corps covering candidate Trump on the 2016 presidential campaign trail.
Donald Trump, Jr. responded: “So by that logic, was every news conference for the last 8 years #fakenews Jim?”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.