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EXCLUSIVE: A sneak preview of Jim Acosta’s new book

Ghostwritten by Roger Kimball

January 29, 2019

9:07 AM

29 January 2019

9:07 AM

Exclusive! * Exclusive! * Exclusive!

An advance excerpt of the forthcoming tell-all memoir from the battle lines of America under siege by the world’s bravest investigative journalist, Jim Acosta.

‘Will the president tell the truth?’ I generally like to start with questions like that because, at a time when American is occupied by the spirit of Donald Trump, it always throws his spokesmen off base.

It’s asking questions like that that made me Chief White House Correspondent for CNN. It’s a big job. But it’s the job I was born for.

Some people have a sense of destiny. I guess I am one. I have always been known for my courageous truth-telling. It’s one reason my colleagues in the press corps idolize me. You can tell that because they always fall silent and look at me with a mixture of awe and envy when I enter the press room at the White House.

I have been going to White House press conferences for many years. I get to sit near the front because of my seniority and reputation for asking brave, hard-hitting questions, and because I am Chief White House Correspondent for CNN. One of my most famous performances — it will probably make the Oxford Book of Quotations — was when I reminded Stephen Miller, Donald Trump’s chief speech writer that the Statute of Liberty says ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’ That was early in Donald Trump’s reign when he was first trying to close America’s borders to brown and black people, whom he does not like.

Miller was impatient, dismissive, and tried to confuse the issue with talk about laws and the Constitution. But I had scored the moral point and I could tell by his irritated response that I had had the better of him. And of course there was also the look of adulation on the faces of my colleagues in the press corps. Those people love me, which more than makes up for the unfair treatment I get from this terrible administration. Stephen Miller, Sarah Sanders, even Donald Trump himself. They’re so mean to me. They cut me off. Just like Sean Spicer used to do. I don’t think they like me. But that’s because I ask hard questions. I seek the truth. There’s a reason I am CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent.

I know that I have some unfair advantages. The camera loves me. It’s just true of some people. When I was just a kid, my mother told me I had rugged good looks. I am not boasting. It’s just the way it is. I don’t let it go to my head. I just keep my head down, work hard, and do the best that I can for the American people, speaking truth to power.

I don’t let my success go to my head. I have always been modest about my talents and virtuous character. It’s one of the things that endears me to my colleagues in the press corps. Most of them do not have the gifts I have. I know that. But I try to help them by example. I remember the time I had to wrestle with a White House aide for the microphone when Trump tried to silence me. I was the one asking the questions! Didn’t he know that? Who was he to shut down a member of the Fourth Estate, especially one from CNN, the country’s bravest news network? That’s why I work there. Brave is drawn to brave!

I sometimes think that Donald Trump himself secretly likes me. Anyway, I am sure that he respects my independence. Also my bravery and perseverance. People tend to admire qualities in other people they do not have themselves. So Donald Trump probably admires me for standing up to his bullying. Not everyone does.

Being Chief White House Correspondent for CNN is no piece of cake, I can tell you. It’s a lot like being on the front lines with the troops in battle. I often imagine myself with the Army in Vietnam or at the Battle of the Bulge. I know I would have done a great job there, too. Asking the hard questions. Reporting both sides. Not getting bogged down by misplaced ‘patriotism.’

I like my job as Chief White House Correspondent for CNN. I know that a lot of people wonder what it is like to be Jim Acosta. They see me on TV almost everyday, at the White House, at our nation’s Southern border, wherever important people congregate, I am there, asking the hard question, speaking truth to power, doing my best as Chief White House Correspondent for CNN.

But at bottom I am just a regular guy. A lot like you. When Harper-Collins asked me to write this book, I at first didn’t want to do it. But I figured I owed it to the American people. It wasn’t the eye-popping advance or promise of lavish editorial help. It was because I wanted to tell my story. An ordinary boy who changed his name and became world famous, as Chief White House Correspondent for CNN. It’s a classic American success story. I knew it would be inspiring, and I wanted to inspire people. I wanted to give back. I am like that, I always have been. Dream big. That’s what I always say. When I was a kid I didn’t know that I would be a world-famous White House Correspondent, traveling around the globe with the most powerful man in the world, asking the hard questions. But I did have a sense that destiny had something special in store for me. And here I am. I am Jim Acosta. This is my story.

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