CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta got support in an unlikely quarter today after Donald Trump singled him out for ridicule during the president’s first news conference without his foreign-dignitary training wheels. Fox News Channel’s Shep Smith, who was among the TV journalists who devoted large swaths of the afternoon marveling at Trump’s performance, defended Acosta during one such segment, calling him “an accomplished reporter — a guy I’ve never met but a good reporter.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Baron/BEI/BEI/Shutterstock (4710969ge) Huma Abedin and Jim Acosta White House Correspondents Dinner, Arrivals, Washington D.C, America - 25 Apr 2015

Among the schoolyard taunts directed Acosta’s way, Trump snarked that CNN’s ratings aren’t good these days (“They are pretty good right now,” Acosta shot back) and said the network’s coverage was blinded by hatred for him (“For the record, we don’t hate you. I don’t hate you,” Acosta contradicted).

Smith thinks the attack on Acosta, and a handful of other journalists in the room, were bright shiny lights to distract from his non-answers to important questions about reported conversations between his campaign aides and Russian intel officials during the campaign. During the newser, Trump said “Russia” is a “joke” and a “ruse.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission. Mandatory Credit: Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock (8174471e) Fox News Channel chief news anchor Shepard Smith broadcasts from The Fox News Deck during his "Shepard Smith Reporting" program, in New York TV Fox Smith, New York, USA - 30 Jan 2017

“It is crazy what we are watching every day,” Smith said in his postmortem. “He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we are fools for asking the question. Really?” Smith said. “Your opposition was hacked, the Russians were responsible for it, and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening and we’re fools for asking the questions?”

He continued: “That you call us fake news and put us down like children for asking these questions on behalf of the American people is inconsequential. The people deserve that answer, at very least.”