Trump’s war on “fake news” was just a taunt, until it changed politics


CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta says that Trump’s rhetoric against the press has gone too far. Acosta explained to Salon’s executive editor Andrew O’Hehir on “Salon Talks” how the president’s ire for reporters has hit a breaking point where he’s not only concerned for his own safety, but the safety of his fellow journalists around the country.

“The president has demonized us in ways and put rhetoric out there that I think has inflamed the political environment in this country to the point where folks absorb this hostility, they absorb this rhetoric, and they direct it back at us in ways that make us feel endangered,” Acosta said. Acosta’s latest book “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America,” follows his journey being singled out by Trump as “fake news.”

Acosta notes that he has received death threats and that his network, CNN, knows first-hand what this type of hostility looks like. In October 2018, suspicious packages containing explosive devices were addressed to CNN’s offices, top Democratic lawmakers, and liberal activists.

Acosta has been covering the White House with CNN for over five years, including the Obama administration. He insists, “I've never seen anything at this level before, and we have to think deeply about whether or not this is the kind of political climate we want in this country.”

Watch the video above to hear Acosta explain how Trump intentionally probes the media. And check out the full episode to find out how Acosta and his colleagues plan to cover the president’s 2020 campaign.


About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.


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