One of the stranger moments in Wednesday’s deeply strange Donald Trump press conference came when the president-elect got into a shouting match with CNN’s Jim Acosta, who was trying to ask him a question.
Earlier in the presser — his first one since July — Trump had attacked CNN for disseminating “fake news” because it broke the story that both the sitting president and the president-elect had been briefed on allegations that Russia has “compromising personal and financial information” regarding Trump.
“Since you’re attacking us, can you give us a question?” Acosta asked during a Q&A portion of the presser. Trump replied, “Not you, not you, your organization is terrible.”
“I am not going to give you a question,” the president-elect said. “You are fake news.”
You can watch their full exchange here:
Acosta later said that incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had threatened to boot him from the press conference if he attempted to ask another question.
During an on-air segment following the press conference, CNN’s Jake Tapper — one of the journalists who wrote the initial report on the allegations — pointed out that his network had not disseminated uncorroborated rumors, as Trump had suggested. Instead, the CNN report acknowledges the existence of the rumors and reports that both Trump and Obama had received briefings on them from the U.S. intelligence community. The specific details of the rumors came from a document Buzzfeed posted in full later Tuesday evening, a move that Tapper described as irresponsible.
“What I suspect we are seeing here is an attempt to discredit legitimate, responsible attempts to report on this incoming administration with irresponsible journalism that hurts us all, and the media going forward should keep that in mind,” said Tapper of Trump’s attempt to conflate the decisions made by Buzzfeed and CNN.
Shortly after he successfully shouted down Acosta, Trump took a question from Breitbart News — a website closely associated with the white nationalist “alt-right,” and an avid promulgator of misleading or inaccurate information that supports hard-right beliefs. Trump’s top adviser, Steve Bannon, is the former chairman of Breitbart.