White House press secretary Sean Spicer castigated outspoken CNN reporter Jim Acosta for "hurting the profession" in a recent interview, adding that he "makes a spectacle on the air" to get more attention.
Spicer's comments came in a Washington Post feature on Acosta, CNN's senior White House correspondent, published Sunday.
Acosta is a prominent media critic of President Donald Trump. He attacked Trump for holding a "fake news conference" in Warsaw, Poland last week and declared that "we have to stand up to" the president's tweets.
Spicer and Acosta have previously clashed. Acosta publicly confronted Spicer last month over the lack of on-camera press briefings from the White House, demanding that the press secretary "turn the cameras on."
Now, Spicer has fired back, saying that Acosta's conduct is "hurting the profession" of journalism.
"If Jim Acosta reported on Jim Acosta the way he reports on us, he'd say he hasn't been very honest," Spicer said. "I think he's gone well beyond the role of reporter and steered into the role of advocate. He's the prime example of a [reporter in a] competitive, YouTube, click-driven industry."
"He's recognized that if you make a spectacle on the air then you'll get more airtime and more clicks," Spicer added. "If I were a mainstream, veteran reporter, I'd be advocating for him to knock it off. It's hurting the profession."
Acosta independently defended his coverage of the Trump administration to the Post.
"I think I'm just covering a story, honestly," Acosta said.
"When the president of the United States calls the press ‘fake news' and ‘the enemy of the American people,' I think that's when you have to get tough and ask the hard questions," he said.