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White House Reporters Walk A Fine Line To Find The Truth

Andrew Harnik
President Donald Trump takes a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, right, before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. The two have, at times, displayed an acrimonious relationship.


On today's program: A White House correspondent shares tales from the road; what we’ve learned from five years of local coal mining data; a sportsbook expert estimates just how involved Pennsylvanians will be ahead of Super Bowl LIV; and how Pittsburgh plans to celebrate the Chinese New Year as the threat of disease plagues provinces abroad.

Credit CNN
Jim Acosta covered the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns in 2008 after joining the CNN network in 2007. He's since been a national political correspondent and covered both the Obama and Trump administrations.

  CNN’s Jim Acosta on Twitter, Trump and fighting the good fight
(00:00 — 12:30) 

Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta says covering the Trump White House for CNN is almost like having “a firehose” pointed at him every day. From the moment he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep at night, it’s a battle to keep up with Trump’s Twitter account and —more recently— news of the impeachment and the 2020 elections. 

“When you’re dealing with a president like Donald Trump and it gets contentious at times,” Acosta says. “You sort of have to put your chin strap on, put your head down and keep charging.” 

Acosta will be in Pittsburgh for Point Park University’s Media Innovators Speaker Series on Thursday, Feb. 6. 


PA assesses the damage from coal mining
(13:51 — 17:49) 

Pennsylvania’s Act 54 is the 1994 amendment to the state’s mining law, providing for the protection and restoration of water supplies affected by mining and of structural damage to buildings and homes above mined land. It also requires an assessment every five years of how the law is being implemented by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The fifth report was recently released, and looks at the 5-year period from 2013 to 2018. The Allegheny Front’s Kara Holsopple spoke to the report’s lead author, Daniel Bain, at his office at the University of Pittsburgh. Bain is an assistant professor of geology and environmental science.





Credit Courtesy of OCA / Facebook
The local chapter of the Organization for Chinese Americans hosts events year-round, from Spring Festival banquets to celebrate the new year to parades and performances around the region.

PA sports fans are still hoping the odds are in their favor
(17:50 — 26:38) 

Football fans and commercial viewers alike will be placing their bets leading up to Super Bowl LIV —from which team will take home the Lombardi trophy to the color of the Gatorade shower. Johnny Avello, head of DraftKings sportsbook operations, says he expects Pennsylvanians to come out in droves, despite neither the Steelers nor the Eagles participating in the big game.

Legalized sports betting in Pennsylvania took effect in 2018, but since then, the number of channels through which bets can be placed has increased significantly.

Other states could be soon to follow, Avello says.

The Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, Feb. 2. 

Ring in the Lunar New Year with a metal rat
(26:39 — 38:34)

Lunar New Year festivities will continue as planned in Pittsburgh, despite the recent outbreak of coronavirus originating in the city of Wuhan, China. The holiday is a time of “extraordinary travel” for those who celebrate, according to Marian Lien, president of the Organization of Chinese Americans in Pittsburgh. 

Ringing in the Year of the Metal Rat, Lien says those born under its zodiac should meditate on the challenges ahead and look forward to mid-year luck. In the coming weeks, all who celebrate the Spring Festival locally can expect a bevy of parades, cultural performances and plenty of food — including dumplings, longevity noodles and even Kung Pao pizza. 

 “Food for the Asians is just something akin to life,” Lien says. 

Events take place Saturday through Sunday, Feb. 9 at multiple locations. For more information, visit ocapghpa.org.

90.5 WESA’s Caroline Bourque, Caldwell Holden and Rosa Williamson-Rea contributed to this program.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kiley covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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