“Tell the truth, stop lying!”
*double-bird style middle finger flip-off*
Apparently, these are the kinds of things one hears (and sees) when Donald Trump has labeled you the “enemy of the people,” and you are deep in the heart of Trump country.
At one of the president’s rallies on Tuesday night (you know how presidents traditionally take time to hold rallies for no reason), CNN reporter Jim Acosta incurred the wrath of some fired-up attendees. He filmed dozens of them confronting him at the gates of the media pen, screaming chants and slurs and holding up signs touting the gospel of fringe conspiracy-spinner Qanon. Once Acosta tweeted the footage below, it quickly went viral.
Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018
Acosta has long been a pet target of Trump. The president appears to view the reporter as an avatar for CNN, and view CNN as the epitome of what he calls “fake news.” Perhaps the climax of this antagonization arrived during Trump’s recent summit in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin. When Acosta raised his hand for the semi-rare opportunity to ask the president a question directly, Trump refused to call on him–with extreme prejudice. “CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN. Let’s go to a real network,” he said to the entire world. Trump then proceeded to take the next question from Fox News.
During the Tuesday night rally, Acosta also had some difficulty reporting. While he attempted to do a field report with Anderson Cooper back at the studio, the rally crowd behind him was chanting “CNN sucks!” so loudly it apparently drowned out Acosta’s earpiece.
Meanwhile, Eric Trump quote-tweeted footage of this moment with the caption “#Truth,” which his father soon retweeted himself.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 1, 2018
It’s clear from Trump’s recent meeting with New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger that he has no plans to tamp down the rhetoric he uses to slander non-partisan news outlets. They will remain, for now, “the enemy of the people.” How far Trump’s people will go to combat those they believe to be the enemy is anybody’s guess.