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November 8, 2018

ACOSTA: When The BBC Is Calling You Out.

I’m pretty sure Acosta never intended to “mistouch” the young female intern. He was just trying to hold on to the mic. . . .

But make no mistake. The media also does well when they are baiting the bear. The urge to poke can sometimes seem irresistible.

So let’s take a step back. What happened in that room was not the ultimate fight for press freedom. This wasn’t someone risking life and limb against a regime where freedom of speech is forbidden. This was a bloke sitting in a room full of colleagues who were all trying to ask questions too.

This was a man who’d had his turn and had been told he couldn’t hog the whole time.

I’ve been in high-pressure press conferences. And the art is to ask the single most succinct question that will land you the best possible response.

The achievement is not meant to be one of endurance.

There are plenty of things to berate in the behaviour, language or ethics of Donald Trump. But this moment was not one of them. Pull him up for his lies, yes. But not for wanting to widen the conversation.

The president took CNN’s question and then took more. And when he tried to move on, he couldn’t. Once the Acosta incident was over, he went on to take questions from journalists from all over the world – for a total of 90 minutes.

And then he got castigated for freezing out the press.

UPDATE: Roger Kimball: “I have at times wondered whether Jim Acosta pays the president a retainer for making him such a recognizable figure.”