What goes around comes around.
When President Trump took the world stage in Poland Thursday, he derided the news media back home but was quickly lambasted by a CNN reporter for lying.
Trump couldn’t resist using the venue of a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw to quickly take an initial softball question from a conservative U.S. reporter about his feuding with CNN.
It prompted him to go off, again, on the “fake news” media, first targeting CNN, then NBC. It’s a refrain heard often but most vividly on display over the weekend when he tweeted a GIF of himself wrestling the CNN logo to the ground.
Later, during CNN’s “New Day,” CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta spoke from the streets of Warsaw about the event he’d just attended. Nothing had really surprised him, he said.
The veteran reporter said the initial anti-press rhetorical flurry at the joint appearance “makes this entire spectacle seems like a fake news conference. This was not an attempt by the president to seek out a question from someone who would challenge him on the issues.”
He said conservative news media was “being used here” by Trump. Acosta then cited Trump’s comments about Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign and Trump’s new tactic of partly acknowledging Russian interference (along with unidentified “others”) but largely placing blame on then-President Barack Obama for alleged inaction.
Acosta said that the Trump claim that Obama did nothing between last August and November “is simply fake news.” Acosta referenced Obama talking to Putin in September. “To say otherwise is just fake news.”
Then there was Trump’s press conference reference to “17 intelligence agencies who say Russia meddled in the election,” but said he thinks “it’s just three or four.”
“Where does that number come from?” said a nonplussed Acosta about the “three or four” reference.
The reporter called that claim “fake news,” too, given widespread reports of intelligence community consensus about Russian involvement.
CLARIFICATION: Acosta is incorrect in suggesting that 17 intelligence agencies signed off on the conclusion that the Russians were involved in campaign hacking. Several organizations, including The New York Times and Associated Press, have previously corrected initial reporting. As The Times wrote on June 29, ” The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.”
At the same time, the president shies from concluding that hacking was the sole handiwork of the Russians. In Warsaw Thursday, he cited unidentified “others” as also involved.