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Jim Acosta to Colbert: I’m Not Trying ‘to Be the Story’

Jim Acosta of CNN (Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty)
Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty

CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta claimed to Stephen Colbert on Wednesday that he is not trying to be the story while covering President Donald Trump. Acosta made his remarks just a week after he walked out of a White House press briefing and suggested that mainstream media reporters “go out on Pennsylvania Avenue and chant, ‘We’re not the enemy of the people.’”

When Colbert asked Acosta if he gets concerned that he will be the story, especially since Trump likes to bash CNN the most, Acosta said, “We’re not supposed to be the story. That’s not why I’m out there. You know, I get accused of that from time to time. And my attitude is, listen, I’m allowed to care about this country just as much as anybody else.”

Acosta told Colbert that he cannot sit back and do nothing when Trump tells one whopper of a lie after another and demonizes immigrants and puts illegal immigrant children “in cages.”

“If you can take children away from their parents on the border and put them in cages, if you think you can demonize immigrants and call them rapists and criminals, if you think that you can distort the sense of reality that we all have on a daily basis by telling lie after lie and falsehood after falsehood and not face any hard questions, I think you’re just not living in the same United States of America that I live in,” Acosta said.

The CNN activist, who has tried to put himself at the center of many Trump-related stories, stormed out of a White House press briefing last week because White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would not say that the press were not the enemy of the people.

Acosta then suggested that journalists “make some bumper stickers, make some buttons” and protest outside the White House.

“I think maybe we should make some bumper stickers, make some buttons, you know, maybe we should go out on Pennsylvania Avenue like these folks who chant ‘CNN sucks’ and ‘fake news,’ maybe we should go out, all journalists should go out on Pennsylvania Avenue and chant, ‘we’re not the enemy of the people,’ because I’m tired of this. Honestly, I’m tired of this,” Acosta said last week. “It is not right. It is not fair. It is not just. It is un-American to come out here and call the press the enemy of the people.”

Acosta also generated headlines when he tweeted video of Trump supporters jeering him and CNN at Trump’s campaign rally in Tampa, Florida, last week and said he feared that the “hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt.”

Acosta’s colleagues at CNN and the media immediately jumped to his defense, with CNN’s April Ryan even saying that Acosta’s “life was in jeopardy” at Trump’s rally. CNN’s Brian Stelter accused Trump of leading a “hate movement” against the media while CNN analyst David Gergen said blood will be on Trump’s hands if a mainstream media journalist gets hurt.

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