Politics and Polls #154: The Press Under Attack Featuring Jim Acosta

Sep 25 2019
By Brillian Bao
Topics Politics
Source Woodrow Wilson School

The media has come under increasing attack over the past few years. While the adversarial relationship between past presidents and the media is not new, some have argued that President Trump has gone further than his predecessors by targeting specific journalists and using language meant to incite violence. As accusations of “fake news” grow, many are paying close attention to how media outlets cover the current administration.

Jim Acosta of CNN joins Julian Zelizer in this episode to discuss his experiences covering the Trump administration’s first two years in office. His new book, “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America” examines the recent attacks and death threats against Acosta and other members of the press corps, the roles of former Press Secretaries Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and media coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Acosta gave a public talk at Princeton on Sept. 23.

Acosta is CNN’s chief White House correspondent, currently covering the Trump administration and previously covering the Obama administration. He has received several awards, including the National Association of Hispanic Journalists 2017 Presidential Award and the San Jose State University Journalism School 2018 William Randolph Hearst Foundation Award, and was a part of the CNN team that won an Emmy for their 2012 presidential campaign coverage. Prior to joining CNN in 2007, Acosta reported as a news correspondent for CBS News, CBS Newspath, and various local radio stations.


Zelizer has been among the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a CNN political analyst. He has written more than 900 op-eds, including his popular weekly column for CNN.com and The Atlantic. This year, he is the distinguished senior fellow at the New York Historical Society, where he is writing a biography of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel for Yale University's Jewish Lives Series. He is the author and editor of more than 19 books including, “The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society,” the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. In January 2019, Norton published his new book, co-authored with Kevin Kruse, “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974.” In spring 2020, Penguin Press will publish his other book, “Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party.” He has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation and New America.