CNN’s Jim Acosta was accused of being "literally delusional" on Tuesday after admitting he doesn’t plan to cover Joe Biden’s presidency as actively as he did the Trump administration, claiming covering Trump was "an experience that might merit hazard pay."
A piece published by The Atlantic on Tuesday, "The Resistance’s Breakup With the Media Is at Hand," by McKay Coppins notes, "The White House spent four years vilifying journalists" and asked, "What comes next?" Coppins noted "the Trump era has been especially rewarding to a certain class of Washington reporter," which includes CNN’s Acosta.
"As the White House beat became the biggest story in the world, once-obscure correspondents were recast in the popular imagination as resistance heroes fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. They were showered with book deals, speaking gigs, and hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers," he wrote, pondering what reporters who "got famous fighting with Trump" plan to do next.
Acosta, who emerged as a hero of the anti-Trump "resistance" for his combative style of questioning members of the administration, is perhaps the most famous example of someone who benefited from covering Trump. Coppins noted critics who have accused him of "showboating" with such antics as walking out of a press conference after then–Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say reporters weren’t enemies of the people.
"But he insists that his on-air indignation has always been genuine," Coppins wrote before Acosta admitted he wouldn’t cover Biden with as much ferocity.
"You can’t just go and trash the press and totally lie to the American people and tell them real news is fake news … I don’t think the press should be trying to whip up the Biden presidency and turn it into must-see TV in a contrived way," Acosta told Coppins.
Coppins admitted it sounded like a "double standard," but Acosta maintained that Trump’s treatment of the press was a "nonstop national emergency" that warranted harsh coverage.
"If being at the White House is not an experience that might merit hazard pay … then perhaps it is going to be approached differently," Acosta told Coppins.
CNN digital producer-turned Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer mocked the quote, calling Acosta’s remarks ‘"literally delusional" or "continued kayfabe."
Acosta’s colleague, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale, also admitted he won’t cover Biden the way he handled Trump.
"It will not be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job to fact-check Biden," Dale told Coppins, who noted that the CNN fact-checker feels Biden doesn’t lie as often as Trump so his role will largely shift to "debunking online disinformation and digging into claims made by congressional leaders."
Many took to Twitter to mock the CNN staffers for essentially admitting they won’t cover Biden as thoroughly as they did Trump:
Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report.