Politics

CBS News’ Major Garrett Rebukes CNN’s Jim Acosta for His Conduct

Former Fox News reporter also said the Obama White House 'tried to demonize' the conservative network 'on a daily basis'

Image Credit: Twitter/MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Many mainstream media members supported CNN’s Jim Acosta and offered little criticism of him after the White House yanked his press pass after his controversial conduct during a recent briefing with President Donald Trump — but CBS News’ Major Garrett (shown above right) rebuked Acosta (above left) for his conduct on Friday on “The Larry O’Connor Show.”

Garrett made his comments before federal Judge Timothy J. Kelly’s initial ruling ordering the White House to temporarily and immediately reinstate Acosta’s press pass on Friday.

Although the ruling offered a temporary injunction, the judge has yet to issue a final ruling on whether Acosta’s First Amendment rights were violated.

Instead, Kelly, whom Trump appointed last year, ruled that White House officials had violated Acosta’s right to due process with the inconsistent reasoning behind their decision to yank his pass in the first place.

Acosta’s credentials were yanked following the controversial and fiery briefing with Trump during which Acosta initially sought to “challenge” the president by giving his own personal opinion on the Central American migrant caravan.

Trump eventually tried to move along to another reporter after allowing Acosta to ask a few questions.

Do you support individual military members being able to opt out of getting the COVID vaccine?

By completing the poll, you agree to receive emails from LifeZette, occasional offers from our partners and that you've read and agree to our privacy policy and legal statement.

But Acosta initially refused to give up the microphone to anyone else — and continued asking questions.

Related: Why President Trump ‘Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Free Pass’ to the White House Briefing Room

Video clips also showed an unnamed female White House intern unsuccessfully attempting to reclaim the microphone from Acosta; he held onto it and pulled his arm back so that she could not take it from him.

But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted out a particular video, which apparently had been doctored to appear worse — showing Acosta swatting away the intern when she tried to take his microphone away.

Yet even in the original and undoctored video, Acosta can be seen trying to pushing away the intern’s arm as she struggled to reach for the microphone after the president clearly said, “That’s enough” to Acosta.

Kelly said Friday, “I want to emphasize the very limited nature of this ruling.”

Acosta celebrated Friday’s ruling outside the courthouse, saying, “I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today.”

“Let’s go back to work!” Acosta added.

But when O’Connor asked Garrett if there was a “standard of conduct” that’s expected from Acosta and other reporters, he admitted there was and that he did not approve of the CNN reporter’s conduct during the briefing.

“I deferred hoping he might call on me again. He didn’t. That’s how I orient myself to the institution,” Garrett said, adding, “I respect the institution and the country’s choice.”

Garrett used an example of how he himself relinquished the microphone during the briefing with Trump when he erroneously thought the president had called on him for a question.

“Some of my colleagues might say, ‘What did you do that for?'” Garrett noted. “Some might say, ‘You laid down and were too deferential.’ I don’t feel that way.”

“I deferred hoping he might call on me again. He didn’t. That’s how I orient myself to the institution,” Garrett said, adding, “I respect the institution and the country’s choice.”

Garrett then threw some shade at Acosta when asked whether he thought the CNN reporter violated White House briefing protocols, saying, “I do my level best to not make myself part of story, and I think the best journalists operate that way.”

The CBS News reporter, who worked for Fox News during the Obama administration, also told Hill TV’s Krystal Ball and The Daily Caller’s Saagar Enjeti on “Rising” on Fridaythat  it “should be noted” the Obama administration tried to “demonize” Fox News.

Related: Jim Acosta’s Press Pass Is Temporarily Returned: Nine Notable Media Reactions

“There was never an effort to shut me out of the briefing room,” Garrett noted, but added that the Obama White House “said it was at war with Fox News. I was its most visible editorial representative on the White House grounds as a senior White House correspondent.”

“The White House would always pull me aside and say ‘Well, really, Major, we’re not at war with you,’ and I said, ‘Stop talking to me like that because when you’re at war with my network you by definition are questioning and assailing my journalistic credibility and the work I do here every day,'” Garrett recounted.

“‘So don’t tell me it’s not about me. It is about me,'” Garrett said he told the Obama White House officials.

Although those officials “never tried to pull” his pass during those turbulent years, Garrett revealed that “they had this sort of arm’s length relationship to Fox and tried to demonize it on a daily basis.”

“So that’s another part of American history and journalism in the White House press corps I think at least should be noted at this moment,” Garrett insisted.

For what it’s worth, Fox News filed an amicus brief supporting Acosta and CNN.

Join the Discussion

COMMENTS POLICY: We have no tolerance for messages of violence, racism, vulgarity, obscenity or other such discourteous behavior. Thank you for contributing to a respectful and useful online dialogue.