ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl expressed his concern about how the general public views the press during the Trump era.
During an interview with Mediaite, Karl discussed the tense relationship between White House reporters and President Trump, something he suggested has had "negative consequences" with many Americans.
"I do believe that unfortunately, there is a big chunk of the country that believes that the press is now the resistance and I think it's really unfortunate and I think that it has negative consequences for a free press. I think it has negative consequences for our democracy," Karl told Mediaite on Thursday. "But I think that the aggressive questioning of the president, particularly now in the wake of what we've seen unfold with the pandemic is absolutely necessary. Not only justified but necessary.
He went on to walk back the harsh criticism of his CNN counterpart Jim Acosta, who he slammed in his memoir for undermining the "credibility" of the White House press corps with his "speeches" that painted the press as "the resistance."
"The events that have played out since those early days of the Trump White House have in some ways vindicated Jim Acosta," Karl said. "I think that Jim was right to be outraged that the president was declaring the free press the 'enemy of the people.' I was too. He expressed it in a more pointed way and I respect that. And frankly, if I was writing the book right now, I would probably write a little bit differently about Jim. I understand fully where he was coming from. I wouldn't have done it in the same way, I didn't do it in the same way, but I understand where he was coming from."
Karl also reflected on his fiery exchange with President Trump earlier this month during the fallout of the Bob Woodward tapes, grilling the president on why he "lied" to the American people about the severity of the coronavirus.
“I’ve resisted using that word,” Karl told Mediaite editor-in-chief Aidan McLaughlin. “I would prefer the readers and viewers of ABC to make the judgment to, you know, I give you the information. You can decide what the intent behind the information was. I will tell you when the president has said something that is not true.”
He later explained that listening to the two recordings of the president talking about the dangers of the virus and his reasoning of wanting to downplay the pandemic in order to prevent panic encouraged him to use the word "lie" in his line of questioning with Trump. He stressed, though that he was not "part of the resistance."
“I’m not part of the resistance,” Karl elaborated. “I’m not his political opponent. I don’t want people to see me in there and think I’m just out to get him. But I also have something that is more important than all of those things. And that is that the reporter’s first loyalty must be to pursuing the truth. And part of pursuing the truth is using clarity of language.”