Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, is going old school. He’s punishing bad behavior. Parents should take note.
Trump cut off CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday when the reporter rudely and repeatedly shouted out questions during Trump’s press conference — and Trump made quick work of him. “Don’t be rude,” he told him.
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The president-elect disparaged the unverified reports by both BuzzFeed and CNN that Russian spies had collected compromising information about him. When Acosta kept shouting at him after Trump had called on a different reporter, Trump said simply, “You’re fake news,” and moved on. Trump 1 — Reporter 0.
Unpacking this head-to-head between the soon-to-be leader of the free world and an out-of-line CNN reporter, here are two notes for parents when it comes to raising kids.
1.) Don’t tolerate rudeness.
The president-elect clearly took to task the reporter who was repeatedly shouting at him. How many times do American parents let their own kids act rudely — and not shut them down?
“Parents put up with a lot, when you think about it,” a high school senior from the Boston area told LifeZette. “I tell my parents — who don’t let me act rudely to them or anyone else — ‘you should hear my friends talk to their parents!’ They say some pretty bad stuff, and the parents just brush it off.”
The younger generation would be a lot more respectful if parents pulled “a Trump” at home and shut them down.
2.) Introduce consequences for bad behavior.
“You’re fake news,” Trump told Acosta. You can’t get more blunt and declarative than that. President-Elect Trump had good reason to dismiss CNN, dating back to the long campaign cycle during which CNN and other mainstream media outlets did all they could to help Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“Donald Trump is showing signs tonight of being a sore winner,” CNN correspondent Jeff Zeleny actually said after the presidential election. “The president-elect is suggesting, with zero evidence to back up his claim, that he won the popular vote and he’s a victim of widespread election fraud.”
Is that appropriate commentary for a news reporter? Trump responded by tweeting, “CNN is so embarrassed by their total 100 percent support of Hillary Clinton and yet her loss and a landslide, they don’t know what to do.”
By comparison, here is how Zeleny, while he was still with The New York Times, “questioned” President Obama in 2009: “During these first 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office, enchanted you the most about serving in this office, humbled you the most and troubled you the most?” Enchanted? Even Obama laughed at that one.
Back during the presidential campaign, Donna Brazile, then a CNN political analyst and interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, leaked the questions and topics of an upcoming presidential debate to the Clinton camp, giving Hillary an advantage over Trump. CNN later fired her.
Trump offers a road map for American parents when it comes to prior bad behavior: Identify it, and instill consequences. In the case of CNN, Trump denied access. Parents should do the same. Deny kids access to things they want to do, and things they plain old want — until they demonstrate better behavior.
An apology is to be expected after bad behavior, too.
“I think Mr. Acosta owes the president-elect and frankly the entire press corps an apology for his childish and inappropriate behavior,” incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Accountability. Maybe it will catch on.