CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta told Stephen Colbert that reporters are "not supposed to be the story," adding: "That's not why I'm out there."
“Do you worry that the president points at y’all so much and there’s a natural need to respond as a human being that you end up being the story when that’s not really the goal of your journalism?” Colbert asked Acosta on the CBS "Late Show" Wednesday night.
“We’re not supposed to be the story, you know. That’s not why I’m out there," Acosta responded. "I get accused of that from time to time, and my attitude is ‘Listen, I’m allowed to care about this country as much as anybody else.'"
The Atlantic's Todd S. Purdum argued earlier this week that Acosta's combative style is "blurring the line between reporting and performance," adding that the CNN correspondent is a "convenient villain" for the White House's war with the press.
"The last thing Trump—or the press, or the public—needs is another convenient villain in the performative arena of the long-running reality show that is his administration," wrote Purdum in a piece that made the rounds in media circles on Tuesday. "Acosta’s broadside blurs the line between reporting and performance, between work and war, at a time when journalists have a greater obligation than ever to demonstrate that what they do is real, and matters—and is not just part of the passing show."
Acosta went on to argue to Colbert that President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE's immigration policies and falsehoods told to the press called for "hard questions."
“If you think that ... you can take children away from their parents on the border and put them in cages, if you think you can demonize immigrants and call them rapists and criminals, if you think that you can distort the sense of reality that we all have on a daily basis by telling lie after lie and falsehood after falsehood and not face any hard questions, I think you’re just not living in the same United States of America that I live in,” Acosta said.
“I thought you were going to say, ‘Then you might be Donald Trump,'” Colbert chuckled in response.
Acosta, who appeared on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" to a standing ovation earlier this year, was promoted to CNN’s chief White House correspondent in January.
He has been covering presidential administrations for the network since 2013.