CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta fears President Donald Trump's "fake news" slams on the news media are going to get a journalist physically hurt by one of his more unstable supporters.
Acosta spoke with Variety alongside fellow White House correspondents April Ryan (American Urban Radio Networks) and Ashley Parker (Washington Post), where the trio addressed their challenges in covering the Trump White House. Trump and the media have had a famously tense relationship since he took office, with Trump frequently calling different outlets "fake news."
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Acosta suggested Trump's more unbalanced fans would carry out physical violence against journalists if he wasn't careful with his rhetoric.
"The problem is that people around the country don't know it's an act … They take what he says very seriously," Acosta said. "They take attacks from Sean Spicer and Sarah Sanders and what they do to us on a daily basis very seriously. They don't have all their faculties in some cases. Their elevator may not hit all floors."
"My concern is that a journalist is going to be hurt one of these days. Somebody's going to get hurt," Acosta added. "And at that point, the White House, the President of the United States, they're going to have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves whether or not they played a role in this, whether they created this toxic environment that resulted in a journalist getting hurt."
Acosta has frequently sparred with White House spokespeople and the president himself, who has called Acosta "fake news." Acosta's Twitter profile says he believes in "real news," and he's called Trump "the king of fake news."