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Saturday, February 2, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In 1968, pop artist Andy Warhol famously said, “In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.”

By my calculation, CNN’s Jim Acosta is in Minute 14.


During his rise to become CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Mr. Acosta has followed the credo made famous by brash tennis player Andre Agassi, who — in a 1989 ad when he was just 19 — was shown stepping out of a white Lamborghini, lowering his sunglasses and saying, “Image is everything.”

The 47-year-old “journalist” has become a big name with his style-over-substance reporting, which is always clearly biased against President Trump. And now, Mr. Acosta’s about to make bank. He’s writing a book about the Trump administration, which will be titled, “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America,” (so fair and balanced).

Acosta, the most visible member of the media branded an ‘enemy of the people’ by President Trump, exposes the tumultuous and dangerous realities of the current White House and its war on truth and the First Amendment,” Harper Collins Publishers said recently. “Going inside the briefing room and onto Air Force One with the White House press corps, Acosta reveals the conversations, battles and near-constant conflict that define life for a media working to hold the Trump administration accountable for its actions and its words.”

Few news reports said how much Acosta is being paid, but the Daily Mail wrote that it’s a “book deal with a multimillion dollar reward.” The book is to be released June 11.

To be sure, it’s not the first time a White House reporter sought fame, and got it, by clashing with the White House. David Gregory made his career at NBC by beating up a press spokesman every day in front of the cameras during the administration of George W. Bush, who called Mr. Gregory’s performances “peacocking”. But Mr. Gregory quickly crashed and burned when the ratings for “Meet The Press,” which he briefly hosted, plunged and he was fired — his 15 minutes over.

It wasn’t always this way. Sure, there have always been grandstanders, like the badly toupeed Sam Donaldson, who berated President Ronald Reagan throughout his presidency. But the White House press corps has always been filled with the cream of the crop, the journalists who toil — mostly in obscurity — to bring America the real story from inside the walls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

For his part, Mr. Acosta has been on a mission to get famous since Day 1 of the Trump administration. When the media operation at the White House decided to take the daily briefing off camera — in a futile attempt to stop all the peacocking — Mr. Acosta bemoaned the move. “Make no mistake about what we are all witnessing. This is a WH that is stonewalling the news media. Hiding behind no camera/no audio gaggles,” Acosta wrote in Twitter in June 2017.

Mr. Trump knew right away that Mr. Acosta was seeking fame from his coverage. In May 2016, then-candidate Trump interrupted a peacocking Mr. Acosta and said, “Excuse me, excuse me, I’ve watched you on TV. You’re a real beauty.”

Last November, Acosta again made headlines when he refused to relinquish a microphone during a White House press conference, prompting top Trump officials to rescind his press credential. A furious Trump, pointing at Mr. Acosta, said: “I tell you what: CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person.”

Mr. Acosta, though, claims Mr. Trump is trying to “silence” the media. “The president and his team, not to mention some of his supporters, have attempted to silence the press in ways we have never seen before. As just about everybody has seen, I have witnessed this first hand. As difficult as that challenge may be for the free press in America, we must continue to do our jobs and report the news. The truth is worth the fight.”

And worth the cash, apparently. But Mr. Acosta’s fame comes merely from his confrontations with Trump. One day, he won’t have that as his only talent, and his 15 minutes of fame will be up.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at josephcurl@gmail.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.


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