Extract

The crowd was menacing, some leaning over the barrier of the media pen, chanting: “CNN sucks! CNN sucks!” It was a chilly night in November 2016, the final day of campaigning before the US presidential elections. We were in an airport hangar in Moon Township, Pittsburgh, waiting for Donald Trump to make a stop to address the 9,000-strong crowd before flying off to another rally.

As the crowd hurled profanities, I looked around to gauge the reaction. Dozens of journalists from American and international media organisations were going about their work, oblivious of the crowd.

Behind me, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta was dozing in a chair. He looked exhausted and bored. It was a very different Acosta who tried posing questions to Trump at a media briefing in Washington after the midterm elections this week.

He was battle-ready and anxious, trying to question Trump about his characterisation of the Central American migrant caravan as “an invasion” and about Russia's involvement in the 2016 elections. ôYou should let me run the country,” Trump interrupted him. “You run CNN and if you did it well, your ratings would be much better.” As Acosta persisted with his question on Russia, Trump said: “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN…. You’re a very rude person.” Acosta’s access pass to the White House was revoked after the briefing. I had asked several of the US correspondents on the campaign trail about Trump’s chances of winning. They wrote him off as a buffoon who had shaken up US politics but would never make it to the White House. Even a Fox News correspondent told me he was surprised that the race between Trump and Hillary Clinton was so close. He said Trump had done too many things that offended ...

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