Acosta Wonders If People Understand ‘The Gravity’ Of Musk And Twitter

News & Politics

CNN Newsroom host Jim Acosta returned to his old form on Saturday of hyperbolically warning about threats to press freedom as he compared the Twitter suspension of several journalists to the Trump White House revoking his press credentials. He also managed to compare tracking Elon Musk’s jet to reporting when senators arrive on the Senate floor or athletes who arrive at a stadium.

Acosta was not pleased with Musk’s trolling of hypocritical journalists, “Mike, Elon Musk initially mocked his critics over this ban, tweeting ‘so inspiring to see this newfound love of freedom of speech by the press.’”

Harkening back to the previous administration, Acosta turned to New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac:

I mean, I should note, full disclosure, I had my press credentials revoked during the Trump Administration, got them back, we went to a federal judge. Going through that experience though, you know, I wonder do you think the public understands the gravity of the situation when the very powerful are able to silence people tasked with trying to hold them accountable. I mean, you were, you guys were trying to hold his feet to the fire. It sounds like he had enough and he lashed out. It sounds familiar. 

Acosta conveniently left out the part where he struggled with a female intern for control of the microphone after he had already asked his question.

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For his part, Isaac saw the story as not revolving around free speech per se, but Musk’s alleged hypocrisy, “I think the thing that really is hypocritical in a lot of this is just he claims to be a free speech, sort of, warrior, free speech maximalist when it suits him and when, you know, I think he really made a very emotional decision when he had, what he said was a stalker following one of his children in another car.”

The allegations of stocking should’ve received more attention, but after Isaac accused Musk of making up the policy as he goes along and that he appears to be driven by emotion, Acosta turned to Voice of America chief national correspondent Steven Herman, who was one of the suspended journalists:

Yeah, and Steven, I think Elon Musk was making a pretty incendiary accusation. I mean, if you’re a reporter covering a politician or sporting event and you tweet that a senator has just arrived on the floor or that a player has arrived at the stadium, I suppose you’re talking about their real time location.

Those are not all similar. Politicians and athletes are public figures doing public things. Musk maybe a public figure, but public figures still have private lives outside of their work. That was lost on Acosta as he continued, “But if you’re talking about Elon Musk’s jet, I mean, how in the world are you supposed to be providing precise coordinates at any given moment? And, you know, if you were to extrapolate this out and engage in this fantasy, I mean, does he think the U. S. Air Force is coming? It’s just so strange.”

Of course, real time flight tracking information does not do the tracker any good when the plane is in the air, but trackers are able to determine information like the plane’s destination.

Speaking of planes, Herman then reached for an even more outlandish analogy, “Well, you and I at the White House tweeted where Air Force One was and the President of the United States.”  

When Musk is able to get the Secret Service to plan his travel then Herman can make that comparison, until then, CNN should cut back on the hyperbole.

This segment was sponsored by Sling TV.

Here is a transcript for the December 17 show:

CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta

12/17/2022

3:03 PM ET

JIM ACOSTA: Mike, Elon Musk initially mocked his critics over this ban, tweeting “so inspiring to see this newfound love of freedom of speech by the press.”

I mean, I should note, full disclosure, I had my press credentials revoked during the Trump Administration, got them back, we went to a federal judge. Going through that experience though, you know, I wonder do you think the public understands the gravity of the situation when the very powerful are able to silence people tasked with trying to hold them accountable. 

I mean, you were, you guys were trying to hold his feet to the fire. It sounds like he had enough and he lashed out. It sounds familiar. 

MIKE ISAAC: No, you’re totally right. I remember when you got kicked out of the press pool a few years back. And no it’s, you know, it’s, my colleague Ryan Mac was suspended as you guys noted before. We have been aggressively reporting on Elon. I think the thing that really is hypocritical in a lot of this is just he claims to be a free speech, sort of, warrior, free speech maximalist when it suits him and when, you know, I think he really made a very emotional decision when he had, what he said was a stalker following one of his children in another car.

And look, like that’s a terrible thing, no one wants that to happen, but he’s also been fixated on ElonJet, this account, for a very long time. Tried to pay the guy to take it down and so, there’s something really personal on how he’s been dealing with it. 

And I think that can be very dangerous when personal, sort of, feelings begin to interpret policy and really, rewrite policy at Twitter in a matter of an afternoon for Elon.

ACOSTA: Yeah, and Steven, I think Elon Musk was making a pretty incendiary accusation. I mean, if you’re a reporter covering a politician or sporting event and you tweet that a senator has just arrived on the floor or that a player has arrived at the stadium, I suppose you’re talking about their real time location. 

But if you’re talking about Elon Musk’s jet, I mean, how in the world are you supposed to be providing precise coordinates at any given moment? And, you know, if you were to extrapolate this out and engage in this fantasy, I mean, does he think the U. S. Air Force is coming? It’s just so strange. 

STEVEN HERMAN: Well, you and I at the White House tweeted where Air Force One was and the President of the United States. 

ACOSTA: That’s right.

HERMAN: Who is obviously somebody that other people would like to harm around the world. So, it’s utterly ridiculous. 

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