CNN should have fact-checkers at the ready for its own reporters and hosts, especially after CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta claimed that President Donald Trump wants to silence fact-checking altogether after signing a social media executive order.
CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Acosta about Trump’s social media executive order, “Why is the president doing this?”
“What this all boils down to is that the president is trying to silence fact-checking,” Acosta said. He added that the president did not want news organizations and social media platforms “to stamp what he says as false when he says false things.”
Acosta has a history of defending freedom of speech, but not when it comes to the president.
Two years ago, he filed a lawsuit to force the White House to re-issue his “hard pass” to obtain White House access. The pass was revoked due to his contentious interaction with Trump during a press conference, but the judge ruled in Acosta’s favor. Trump’s contention was that Acosta lacked proper decorum when addressing him and was disrespectful, which led to his pass being revoked.
CNN and Acosta also failed to acknowledge that Acosta has a testy relationship with the president since Trump assumed office, with multiple instances of aggressively questioning the president and his staffers during televised press conferences. For example, Politico noted that Trump “spares with a familiar foe: CNN’s Jim Acosta” in a February 2020 article. Politico said that Acosta was the “chief antagonist for a network that styles itself as Trump’s chief antagonist.”
But the cable news network headlined Acosta’s back-and-forth with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, “Acosta to press secretary: Are you saying Trump hasn’t lied?” The headline did not mention the lack of evidence surrounding Acosta’s claim and nor did CNN or Acosta provide proof that Trump is trying to silence fact-checking.
CNN also failed to fairly describe the president’s perspective on signing a social media executive order, which was based on concerns that social media companies restrict conservative free speech.