Doin' the CNN Two-Step

There is little in the news today quite as delightful as watching the mainstream media do the CNN Two-Step. The CNN Two-Step is a simple dance. Step One: Put your foot in your mouth. Step Two: Shoot yourself in the foot. The results are bloody but hilarious.

The latest iteration comes from CNN's own Jim Acosta. Acosta seems to have modeled himself on the Grandfather of Fake News, Dan Rather. Rather made his name by shouting biased and hostile questions at a president despised of the elite. Acosta has made a fool of himself doing the same thing. Acosta beclowned himself most recently (as of this writing; it's hard to keep up) filing a sneering, unprofessional report on the president's press conference in Poland. Acosta scornfully called it a "fake news conference":

The other thing that was fake news coming from President Trump is he said, "Well, I keep hearing it is 17 intelligence agencies who said Russia interfered in the election. I think it is only three or four." Where does that number come from? Where does this three or four number come from?

Turns out the number comes from corrections filed by the New York Times and the Associated Press, after weeks of complaints about the error from conservative websites.

But, of course, this is only the latest example. Over at MSNBC, they were doing the CNN Two-Step last week after Trump tweeted some nasty remarks about Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. This came after months of Mika and her fiance Joe Scarborough attacking Trump as a "thug," a "goon," "mentally ill," and so forth. When Trump finally gave them the smack they deserved, their over-the-top whining and crying were absurd enough to make a statue laugh.

And we mustn't forget how CNN extorted an apology out of a private citizen after Trump retweeted an anti-CNN .gif that the citizen may or may not have made. Alisyn Camerota reported this act of sinister thuggery by the network as if it were some kind of happy ending. And the entire CNN staff seemed surprised when Trump supporters responded in kind by releasing staffers' personal info along with a blizzard of anti-CNN memes.

The media might use this opportunity to stop dancing the CNN Two-Step — to stop blowing their own heads off in other words — and take stock. They might ignore Donald Trump's manners and ask themselves whether perhaps he has a point, whether perhaps their industry is desperately in need of reform.

But they can't. Because there is one simple fact they don't get: Trump's attacks on the press aren't a bug in the administration. They're a feature.