Former longtime CNN host Larry King on Thursday slammed Jim Acosta’s “childish” behavior during last week’s White House press conference, saying the CNN star needs to stop making the story about himself and focus more on his subjects.
Mr. King told the Law & Crime Network that while he supports CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration — which demands that Mr. Acosta’s press credentials be restored after they were revoked following the contentious post-midterm conference — the veteran broadcaster doesn’t see it as necessarily a free speech issue as CNN contends.
“I’m a big supporter of free speech, but on the other hand, there are 50 press passes at CNN to the White House,” Mr. King said.
“I wouldn’t have gone that far,” he said of Mr. Acosta. “[Mr. Trump] answered one or two questions. Then he didn’t want to answer anymore. You got a room full of people, all of whom have the right to ask questions. Jim might have gone a little far.
“To me, you know what this was? Eighth grade,” he added. “It was the playground, ‘That’s my ball and I wanna play today on the team.’ It was childish.”
“You’re not bigger than [Mr. Trump]. It isn’t about you, it’s about him,” he said. “CNN has become — as is Fox and MSNBC — Trump networks. There’s the anti-Trump network, the partial anti-Trump network, and the pro-Trump network. But they’re not news networks.”
Mr. King, who now hosts a show on RT America, is a frequent critic of his former network where he hosted a prime-time show for 25 years. Just last week he said, “CNN stopped doing news a long time ago.”
The network, which is routinely criticized by the president, became the story once again on Nov. 7 following the East Room press conference. At one point during the lengthy exchange, Mr. Trump berated CNN chief correspondent Jim Acosta as a “rude, terrible person” as Mr. Acosta continued to pepper the president with questions and then blocked a female aide from taking the microphone.
The White House later revoked Mr. Acosta’s credentials, saying his actions against the woman were unacceptable.
Mr. Acosta has denied assaulting the woman and accused the administration of trying to shut down CNN. The network sued the administration this week, accusing it of violating Mr. Acosta’s press and due process rights. The White House said Mr. Acosta’s behavior impeded its ability to conduct official business.
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