CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta took a shot at viewers amid the era of "fake news," saying they "don’t know" President Donald Trump's "act" — and even "don’t have all their faculties in some cases."
"Their elevator might not hit all floors," he added about some viewers.
Acosta made his remarks in a video interview accompanying a Variety article, "Inside the Intense, Combative World of Covering the Trump White House," which also included takes from two other White House correspondents: Ashley Parker of the Washington Post and April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks.
What else did Acosta say?
While Acosta acknowledged that reporters can't take "too seriously" Trump's famous media accusation of "fake news," he rolled off a litany of insults he said Trump has leveled at journalists as if each word was still fresh in his mind.
"He called us the dishonest media, the disgusting media, he called us liars, thieves, scum, criminals ... he said all those things about us," Acosta noted on the video.
He also chalked up Trump's "fake news" mantra as a "catchphrase" and a "marketing term" — and one that doesn't mean Trump believes reporters are lying but that Trump simply doesn't like a story.
Then Acosta dug into viewers.
“The problem is that people around the country don’t know it’s an act,” Acosta said on the video in regard to Trump's news conference demeanor. “They’re not in on the act, and they take what he says very seriously, and they take attacks from [former White House press secretary] Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders and what they do to us on a daily basis very seriously. They don’t have all their faculties in some cases — their elevator might not hit all floors."
Acosta also said during the video interview that he's concerned about journalists getting "hurt" and then "the White House, the president of the United States, they're gonna have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves whether or not they played a role in this, whether they created this toxic environment that resulted in a journalist getting hurt."
If that happens to reporters, Acosta said the United States would "suddenly become something less" and "join a different group of countries around the world where the press is not safe."
What did Ryan say?
Ryan shared Acosta's view in regard to Trump's "fake news" accusations.
“Fake news, by the president saying this, it's not just a simple or cute little statement for some,” she said in the video. “This has tentacles ... it's reaching overseas. I’ve heard from European leaders who are saying it could really destabilize democracies. And they are very concerned about this fake news issue. Think about it:When you are in a country and your citizenry thinks that you’re fake, thinks that what the news is saying is fake, there could be anarchy some kind of way. And it causes a destabilization of democracies. There’s tentacles to what this president is saying."
Ryan added that since Trump is tasked as president with upholding and defending the Constitution — and freedom of the press is part of the document — he's "being a hypocrite when he's calling us fake news. We are a part of the pillars of this nation.”
(H/T: Washington Times)