Book Review: The Enemy of the People


Did you know Jim Acosta was working on a new non-fiction book? Acosta’s book, “The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America,” hit bookstore shelves Tuesday, 11 June 2019 in these United States.

Who is “The Enemy of the People”?

Since President Donald J. Trump took office, it has become incredibly difficult for legitimate reporters to cover the White House effectively because the president has frequently referred to media outlets such as CNN as being the purveyors of “fake news.” Further, Trump has also labelled such mainstream media outlets as being the “enemies of the people.”

I was sitting on a plane just minutes after take-off when the news alert flashed across the cabin’s TV screens. It was the morning of October 25, 2018, and I was en route from Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport to San Francisco, where I would be delivering a speech at San Jose State University on the state of the news business under President Donald J. Trump and accepting an award from the school’s journalism program.

Acosta, Jim. The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America., United States: Harper, 2019.

While many people might not fully recall the day Acosta is referencing, there is no doubt in my mind the people that work in CNN’s New York headquarters will never forget it. This was the day the mainstream media outlet’s headquarters was evacuated because a pipe bomb had been delivered to the building.

Does anyone else remember when pipe bombs were delivered to a news media outlet’s headquarters simply because a journalist reported the truth about a certain political figure? It seems to have only occurred since Trump took office. Acosta has a vividly perfect recollection of the day.

I had feared the day would come when the president’s rhetoric would lead one of his supporters to harm or even murder a journalist. And when it happened, the United States would undergo something of a sea change, joining the list of countries around the world where journalists were no longer safe reporting the truth.

Acosta, Jim. The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America., United States: Harper, 2019.

At Nuremberg style political rallies…

Because of Trump’s antagonistic relationship with mainstream media, reporters have found themselves targeted with death threats and despicably vile language from die-hard Trump supporters at his Nuremberg style political rallies (this is my description of Trump’s rallies, not Acosta’s).

My photographers, producers, and I had covered the rallies where Trump demonized the press, where he called us “disgusting” and “dishonest,” before moving on, at a news conference he held before being sworn into office, to dub my network and me “fake news.” We had listened to the chants of “CNN sucks” from his crowds of supporters, seen them give us the middle finger, and heard them call us “traitors” and “scum.” And who could forget the president of the United States said we were “the enemy of the people”?

Acosta, Jim. The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America., United States: Harper, 2019.

No Accountability in Trump’s World

In Acosta’s 368-page book, CNN’s chief White House correspondent addresses the challenges reporters face when trying to cover Trump and his administration. Trump is by no means a typical American president. With no political experience under his belt prior to stealing the 2016 Presidential Election, the real estate mogul has systematically lied to the American people every day he has been in office. Because of their long term exposure to the Kool-Aid, Trump’s supporters eat every word he utters with a grim. It is sickening the way people simply accept what this man says on face value. Is there no accountability in Trump’s world?

Much of what Acosta wrote about in his book revolves around the 2016 Trump Pence Presidential Campaign and his politically inept administration. A book covering Trump’s campaign to win his presidential race would not be complete without references to the investigation into Russian collusion.

As the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the forty-fifth president of the United States approached, there were reminders everywhere of how dramatically the world was about to change.

Acosta, Jim. The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America., United States: Harper, 2019.

Is it a Sit-Com or a Soap Opera?

What do you immediately think of when someone references the Trump White House? When thinking about Trump’s White House, there are numerous things one should not forget. It would be remiss of one to forget the unconstitutional travel ban the president placed on people from majority-Muslim countries (except for of course Saudi Arabia), children being caged, a poorly executed immigration plan and an almost comedic revolving door of lead characters that is the White House administration.

The Trump White House is not as must a soap opera as it is a badly written episode of Soap. Soap, created by Susan Harris, was a situation comedy that ran on ABC from 1977 to 1981. The difference between the Trump White House and Soap is talent. If you take the time to watch the sit-com, you will see talent. This not something one can associate with Trump’s White House.

On January 1, 2017, I was reporting from the White House on the final day of Barack Obama’s administration. But the story was no longer Obama; his time was up. The story was the arrival of Trump. And there was a sense of dread inside the Obama West Wing.

Acosta, Jim. The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America., United States: Harper, 2019.

Acosta’s book is a must-read for anyone thirsting for the truth. The truth is not something you will find coming out of the Trump White House anytime soon. If Trump thinks intimidation will work on a correspondent the calibre of Acosta, the president seriously over estimates his abilities. Regardless of what Trump spouts, Acosta keeps digging for the truth.

Final Thoughts

It takes bold strokes to write as well as Acosta. The flow of the material is readily apparent. There are no shortcuts to telling the truth. Is this the president people want for these United States? If it were not for the Electoral College, we would not have Trump in the White House. Even though Trump’s supporters are incapable of recognising the truth, are are not all drinking from the same troth. We know a con man when we see one.

Acosta is always upfront. He never shies away from digging at the truth. This is an aspect of Acosta’s work one can rely. Consequently, because it is not in Acosta’s nature to run from a story, getting to the heart of a story is the priority. It is a sign of a good journalist.

While Acosta’s fans will undoubtedly find the correspondent’s reporting style aligns perfectly with the journalistic integrity of an uncompromising news professional, there will always be those people who will accuse him of grandstanding. There is power in the words we use to express our thoughts. All journalists, especially Acosta, know this is true. Regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself, with no confusion with Trump’s wall, Acosta’s book is one of the first must-read non-fiction publications of 2019.