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8 Nov, 2018 16:03

Trump’s clash with CNN descends into farcical debate over who touched a female intern

Trump’s clash with CNN descends into farcical debate over who touched a female intern

The US president clashes with a reporter from CNN, yet the fallout turns into an argument about whether a young female White House staffer was inappropriately touched. This is American politics in 2018, ladies and gentlemen.

The bad tempered back and forth between CNN’s Jim Acosta and Donald Trump was the kind of exchange where it’s hard to pick a good guy.

Acosta attempted to lecture Trump about his views on immigration while hogging the mic, and Trump called Acosta “rude and terrible”. Just standard stuff. Like a couple of toddlers interacting, only one has nuclear weapons and the other has a primetime TV audience.

The journalist has since had his press credentials for the White House revoked, not because Trump doesn’t like him, but because, according to Trump’s Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, he placed “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”

Didn’t see that one coming did you?! Acosta responded by calling the accusation ‘a lie.’

Here’s a completely objective, non-partisan, non-political description of the incident that led to this accusation against Acosta.

The CNN correspondent was refusing to give up the microphone, a female White House intern attempted to take the microphone off him. She was a bit snatchy, he was overly-determined to keep hold of the mic, the two came into very brief contact in the strictly non-Weinstein sense of the word, then it was over. Watch the video.

So, why then has this blown up into a debate about who touched who, where and how?

One of the reasons is that in the current political climate, it doesn’t really matter what the video shows, or what actually happened because political ideology will drive peoples’ conclusions.

On the one hand you have the White House making accusations of hands being placed inappropriately which seems a little strong, but is good enough for right-wing pundits to take at face value and run with.

Then, rather than rise above the bait, some liberal commentators decide to counter by claiming that actually, it was the intern that touched Acosta! One even made a Monday Night Football style slow-mo analysis to make the point.

Another commentator accused the staffer of “blind obedience” to Trump for trying to do her job. That’s a pretty harsh character assassination based on one single 10 second non-incident.

The person who really deserves sympathy is the intern. She attempted to do her job, didn’t get the mic and will now have to answer questions about whether she felt she was touched inappropriately.

If she says ‘yes’ she will upset the press corp and the Trump-hating left who would normally be on her side in issues of consent. If she says no, she’ll make the White House look stupid and upset Trump. She is a victim of the polarisation of politics when truth is not what you see, but what you need it to be.

In the meantime, Trump manages to divert attention from a wobbly economy and the fact he just lost control of the House, and Acosta gets a few publicity points too.

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