With his latest instance of sanctimonious speechifying, conducted under the guise of asking a legitimate question, CNN’s Jim Acosta has become the poster child for why the media no longer has any credibility with the American public. While asking press secretary Stephen Miller a question about Trump’s new immigration policy at a recent press conference, Acosta used the occasion as an opportunity, not to elicit a response, but rather as an opportunity to engage in grandstanding, filibustering and virtue-signaling.
Regardless of what you think about the president’s new immigration policy that favors those with skills and education, Acosta clearly comes across as rude and obnoxious.
Acosta quoted a line from a famous poem by Emma Lazarus that is commonly associated with the statue of liberty: “give me your tired, your poor…” Acosta then used this quote to bootstrap his fallacious and historically ignorant argument that Trump’s new proposals are a breach of longstanding U.S. immigration policy and violate the spirit embodied by the statue of liberty.
During the course of his filibuster, Acosta makes clear, that to him, one of the most odious of Trump’s new immigration proposals is the requirement that immigrants speak English. Acosta then engages in a long-winded, rambling lecture that the English requirement is exclusionary and violates the spirit and intent of America’s immigration customs as embodied in Lazarus’s “give me your tired, your poor poetic verse.
Acosta somehow thinks this phrase is sacrosanct, inviolable and the sole legitimate basis upon which American immigration policy has been and must continue to be based. Acosta tells Miller the poem,
“…doesn’t say anything about speaking English or learning to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country, if you are telling them you have to speak English. Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?”
Acosta then proceeds to contend that because of the English requirement, the Trump policy would favor only immigrants from Great Britain and Australia.
Perhaps the most delicious part of the entire exchange occurs when Miller mocks Acosta’s antics by asking him if certain levels of immigration would or would not violate the “Jim Acosta statue of liberty law of the land”:
“Jim, I appreciate your speech,” Miller responded. “Let’s talk about this. In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? In the 1990s, when it was half a million per year, was it violating or not violating the Statue of Liberty law of the land? Tell me what years meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land.”
Miller continued: “So, you say that a million a year is the Statue of Liberty number. 900,000 or 800,000 a year would violate it.”
Acosta, of course, too self-absorbed in his pompous filibustering, had no response to Miller’s question.
The exchange exposes the urban chic progressivism to which Acosta and most of his fellow reporters subscribe that portrays as racist and Xenophobic, those who question whether untrammeled immigration or open borders is a sound national immigration policy. As Miller deftly noted during their exchange, Acosta wasn’t even trying to hide his liberal cosmopolitanism, he was proudly wearing it on his sleeve.
Acosta’s performance is Exhibit “A” in support of the argument that the White House Press Conference should no longer be televised. If that were indeed to happen, does anyone believe that Acosta would engage Miller in the same manner?