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Jim Acosta Disses Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson: They’re ‘Not Willing to Meet Me in the Schoolyard’

After firing a shot across the bow last week, CNN’s Jim Acosta is ramping up his attacks on Fox News, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. The White House correspondent is now suggesting his Fox News rivals receive talking points — even scripts — directly from the West Wing.

Appearing on The Hugh Hewitt Show, Acosta tore into Fox News — likening much of its content to Cuban state television.

“[At] certain hours of the day on Fox…it is very much a house organ for the president,” Acosta said. He added, “Have we ever witnessed a situation like that, where a network essentially just serves as an amplifier of the president’s message of the day? And to some extent, focused and fixated on the conspiracy theories that he spreads. That to me is very much the definition of propaganda and state TV.”

Hewitt pressed Acosta — noting the CNN correspondent’s disdain for the term “fake news.” The conservative radio host asked Acosta to spell out the difference between delegitimizing a news outlet as fake news, and delegitimizing a news outlet by calling it state TV.

“You’re attempting to delegitimize the hours between 8 and 11 on Fox by calling it propaganda and state TV,” Hewitt said. “The president attempts to delegitimize CNN by calling it fake news. If you object to fake news, I don’t know how you can use propaganda. I don’t use either of them.”

Acosta stood behind his remarks.

“We have not seen one particular network serve as an arm of the administration,” Acosta said — noting that ex-White House communications director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, arranged interviews between Fox News personalities and President Donald Trump at rallies.

Acosta then pivoted to Hannity and Carlson’s programs.

“There have been moments on that conservative news network you’ve been asking me about where they’ve gone after me on a number of occasions,” he said. “Listen, I feel as though I have a right to defend myself. And I think what you do see during those hours is not even remotely close to anything resembling the news.”

Later, he called them out directly.

“The likes of Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, they’re willing to go off on me on their shows, but they’re not willing to have me on in person to defend myself,” Acosta said. “What’s with that? If you’re so darn tough, why don’t you give me an invitation to come on your show? What I’ve found over the last few days is that they’re not willing to do that. They’re willing to shoot spitballs from the sidelines like the class clown, but they’re not willing to meet me on the schoolyard. And that’s on them.”

In a tweet last week, Hannity defended his decision not to have Acosta on his program.

“Sorry, I wont subject my audience to conspiracy theory fake news,” Hannity wrote. “Go hawk that garbage on the lowest rated cable channel u work for.”

Carlson has not addressed Acosta’s request to appear on his show, but hours after Acosta took a shot at him on Twitter, he did return fire — mocking the CNN correspondent for defending his work by saying “Just because we are pro-truth doesn’t mean that we are anti-Trump.”

“No one’s ever accused Jim Acosta of being a genius, but even by our estimate, it’s pretty shocking that he is so proud of himself,” Carlson said.

Acosta went on to accuse Hannity and Carlson of taking marching orders directly from the White House.

“You don’t think they get a script that night, Hugh, when they come on?” Acosta asked Hewitt. “You don’t think that they’re reading from talking points that are almost identical to what the White House wants that day?”

Hewitt seemed taken aback by the stunning claim, and said he does not believe that the Fox News hosts receive scripts. He pressed Acosta on whether he truly believes the damning charge he’d just thrown out. Acosta stood behind it.

“It sounds like that’s the case,” Acosta said. “We hear the same talking points from their surrogates that we hear on their show night after night.”

Listen above, via The Hugh Hewitt Show.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: joed@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo