Few not elected to public office have had a more public display of disdain for President Donald Trump than Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta. The press pool regular, along with his other compatriots at CNN have been clear and concise in their criticism of the president, painting him as a menace to both the country and polite society.
Their coverage of him has been as aggressively biased as their personal feelings seem to be, and there seemed to be an audible sigh of relief that they might be able to put down their guard slightly, now that the Democrat National Convention darling, former Vice President Joe Biden, seems to be heading for the Oval Office.
According to The Washington Times, Acosta and fellow CNN newsman Jake Tapper went so far as to say that media coverage will change if Biden enters the White House. The pair both predicted that their interviews, and those of their cable news competitors, will likely be “less combative coverage,” according to the publication.
Acosta’s interactions with the president and his now-famous “fake news” tagline have become so famous that the reporter broke one of the cardinal rules of journalism, opting to be the story instead of just reporting it.
“The drama has made him famous,” The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins reported according to the WT, “but Acosta said he doesn’t expect to bring the same crusading style to his coverage of the next administration.”
“I don’t think the press should be trying to whip up the Biden presidency and turn it into must-see TV in a contrived way,” Mr. Acosta told the outlet.
“If that sounds like a double standard,” Mr. Coppins reports, “Acosta told me it’s not partisan — it’s a matter of professional solidarity. In his view, Trump’s campaign to discredit the press has constituted a ‘nonstop national emergency,’ one that required a defiant response.”
“If being at the White House is not an experience that might merit hazard pay,” Mr. Acosta said, “then perhaps it is going to be approached differently.”
Tapper, however, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, told CNN host Brian Stelter during a “Reliable Sources” Sunday night that he doesn’t expect that he’ll have to dedicate as much time to his famous “fact-checking” when covering a potential Biden administration, as he insists on doing for Trump and his officials.
“Donald Trump, because of his disruptions and the way he disrupted just how presidents and public figures behave, and his actions to change the way that the news media writ large behaves … We felt in many ways the need to do more aggressive fact-checking,” Mr. Tapper said. “The monologues … it’s basically a time to just turn to the camera and just present some facts in a way that might clear up where there is obfuscation whether it’s about matters of decency or matters of fact.
“I don’t know that we’re going to have the need to continue to do those quite the same way in a Biden administration. Maybe we will,” he continued. “I guess it’s entirely possible that this will happen, and we’ll be doing it. But I kind of suspect that news media coverage will change as a more, you know, ‘normal President’ takes office, whether it’s Joe Biden in 2021 or Nikki Haley in 2025, whatever. I mean, I think generally, there will be a return to some sort of non-Trump obsessive coverage.”
So, to be clear, they’ll maintain that they have covered the Trump administration fairly, but they’ll also be clear that they don’t expect to have to be as aggressive with double-checking the Biden administration, or expect to be as combative with its members. That checks out (but, you know, only if CNN is checking).