CNN reporter Jim Acosta claimed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R., was blocking him by turning his border roundtable Wednesday with former President Donald Trump into a pool coverage event at the last second, leading to pushback from a Republican spokesman.
“TX Gov. Abbott and his staff are blocking press access to his event today with Trump. They’ve decided to turn their roundtable discussion into a ‘pool’ coverage event. However, in addition to pool, Abbott’s team is selectively allowing certain non-pool outlets into the event,” Acosta tweeted.
A pool event refers to a media availability where a select group of outlets are allowed into an event and then disseminate any news to the wider group of outlets providing coverage.
Acosta’s claim, which was shared by Politico’s Olivia Beavers, was quickly shot down by the Republican Governors Association’s Joanna Rodriguez. She tweeted out a June 24 media release from Abbott’s office that warned due to capacity limits, “pooling may be required for the border security briefing.” On Tuesday, Abbott’s office announced the security briefing would be pooled.
Beavers had responded to Acosta that she was “also excluded” and received “no heads-up beforehand that this was the set-up.” But she later wrote, “Saw after sending this tweet that Abbott’s office did send out an advisory notifying us less than 24 hours beforehand that this event would be pooled by outlets that the governor’s office picked. No explanation why or how they were picked.” She wound up deleting her earlier claim of being excluded without notice.
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A reporter with NBC’s Austin affiliate also responded to Acosta and relayed an Abbott spokeswoman said the additional media outlets being allowed in “were pre-approved,” many of them local Texas stations.
GOP spokesman Jesse Hunt said Acosta wasn’t a “serious reporter” and noted the outlets pooling the event included non-conservative ones like the Associated Press, Univision, and CBS News.
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Acosta and Beavers didn’t reply to requests for comment.
Trump appeared at the border with Abbott to be briefed on the migrant border crisis, for which he blasted President Biden’s immigration policies.
Acosta, now the network’s chief domestic correspondent, became famous during the Trump era for his mutually antagonistic relationship with the White House. He often editorialized and was more likely to break news about himself than gather scoops, which drew criticism even from fellow mainstream media colleagues.
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Acosta’s heavy-handed moments included proclaiming all correspondents should chant “We are not the enemy of the people” at the White House and scolding Kim Kardashian West for visiting Trump to discuss criminal justice reform.
Following the briefing, all outlets were on hand for Trump and Abbott’s border visit. Acosta got in one of his patented shouted, unanswered questions, wondering if he would offer an apology for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The conservative crowd booed, and Acosta’s work was done.
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