Wearing socks from the “Enemy of the People” collection, CNN reporter and frequent Trump target Jim Acosta joined Stephen Colbert to talk about the state of “fake news” CNN and covering Trump today.
Colbert first brought up Acosta’s recent confrontation with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who refused to say that journalists are not the “enemy of the people.”
Said Acosta: “It’s not a big deal, right? Just say, you know, we’re not the enemy of the people. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t be referring to journalists as the ‘enemy of the people.’ We’re not the enemy of the people.”
Acosta said that when Trump refers to CNN as “fake news” he takes it as “he’s calling on me for a question.”
“We have had to be fact checkers in real time,” added Acosta. “These are some tough times…I don’t think we do ourselves any good, Stephen, if we shy away from these hard questions. And, you know, my goodness, the way I look at it is– and this is the debate I have with my fellow journalists when we talk about this is what if we just did nothing? Do we just sit back and do nothing in the face of that?”
Colbert then played a clip of Acosta getting attacked by a mob at Trump’s Tampa rally.
Replied Acosta: “They’ll ask me, ‘Why don’t you report the good things he does?’ I said, ‘Listen, we just talked about the jobs numbers last Friday. He had good jobs numbers last Friday.’ And they say, ‘Oh, okay. Well, do you like the president?’ And I said, ‘That’s not relevant. I don’t have to like the president of the United States. He doesn’t have to like me. We all have jobs to do.’ My sense of it, Stephen, is that a lot of these folks- they get their impression of what we do by watching other conservative outlets, they look at other conservative websites. And these folks are focused on the coverage of the president’s behavior more so than the president’s behavior. And to me, I think the president’s behavior is more newsworthy than our coverage. But a lot of these folks out there, they’re getting their sense of what we do twisted and warped by some people out there who just want to do the president’s bidding.”
Asked Colbert: “Do you worry that the president points at y’all so much and there’s a natural need to respond as a human being that you end up being the story when that’s not really the goal of your journalism?”
Replied Acosta: “We’re not supposed to be the story, you know. That’s not why I’m out there. I get accused of that from time to time, and my attitude is ‘Listen, I’m allowed to care about this country as much as anybody else.’ If you think that … 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.”
Quipped Colbert: “I thought you were going to say, ‘Then you might be Donald Trump.'”