WH Advisor Stephen Miller faces off with CNN’s Jim Acosta
One week ago, I planned on writing about the godsend that was Anthony Scaramucci – an outspoken, ill-mannered alternative to the irreplaceable Sean Spicer – but alas, he lasted only 10 days! However, knowing the communications gaffes and mixed messaging this White House is prone to, I figured It wouldn’t be long before some media training ammunition was spent.
It came in the form of a dust-up between White House adviser Stephen Miller and CNN’s Jim Acosta. The showdown took place during a briefing held to trot out the administration’s new immigration policy. The nearly 7-minute back and forth has been described as going “completely off the rails”. That is accurate.
Here’s most of the clip: (Note, as bad as it was – surely it will be surpassed by another more shocking incident in the near future)
Both parties are to blame for turning up the heat. Acosta clearly displayed his disdain for the new policy. He’s been fighting with and criticizing the Trump White House for the better part of 6 months, a media bias that many scream, should not exist. He’s also been accused of “grandstanding” and by quoting the poem on the Statue of Liberty and telling a story about his father, it appeared to some he simply chose a side and held court. Those type of “questions” or statements, play better during an opinion/analysis type show (like for instance, the many he appeared on after this incident).
On the other side, Miller committed the sin of all sins when trying to communicate one’s message. Job number one that afternoon was to be an advocate for a new immigration policy, to present it to the American people by successfully delivering the merits of the proposed action. Maybe more importantly to present it to Republicans in Congress who will have to fight hard to pass the eventual legislation. Instead, he attacked the reporter on a personal level and never even bothered to defend the actual policy during the exchange. Had he used some talking points here, no matter what Acosta was asking, he may have been able to save the roll out. But he muddled things further by name calling, accusing Acosta of bias, ignorance and confusing the narrative. Miller may have begun his press conference by laying out the policy but by the time the back and forth with Acosta was over no one remembered a word he said with regard to immigration.
Sure, his rant fired up the conservative base and it may have made his boss in the Oval Office happy but it did nothing to help get the policy passed. Miller allowed himself to be pushed and prodded, straying so far from the actual message he was there to deliver, he wasted everyone’s time, including his own.