Aug 1, 2018

The big picture: Trump supporters' growing hostility toward the media

People at a Make America Great Again rally in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The media — and CNN specifically — was greeted by a particularly hostile crowd at President Trump's rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday.

The big picture: While nothing new, the video footage of Trump supporters shouting at and giving the middle finger to CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta and other media personnel was striking. As the midterm elections near — and Trump hits the road six days a week for Republican candidates — expect plenty more where this came from.

The scene in Tampa
What they're saying
  • Trump's son, Eric, tweeted video of rally-goers chanting "CNN sucks" behind Acosta, adding "#Truth." It was retweeted by the president.
  • Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, tweeted: "This isn’t our best. It’s not who we are. I don’t always agree and am often upset with journalists but we are flashing warning lights now that we shouldn’t be flashing. The free press needs to be protected as well as their opinions. That’s why that Amendment was First."
  • Political analyst Larry Sabato tweeted: "Disgusting, disgraceful, and unworthy of anyone who respects the First Amendment — not to mention basic manners. POTUS and his crew refuse to put a stop to this. Future generations will wonder why we the people let this happen, and there’s no good answer. Mob rule, pure & simple."
  • Conservative commentator Stephen Miller said: "Trump's rallies are ridiculous & I wish he didn't make the country a part of his personal blowing off steam, but Acosta's Braveheart act is just as equally ridiculous. ... Trump and the media who gave him 5 billion in free advertising to prop him up as a foil for Hillary deserve each other. Simple as that."
  • Acosta himself tweeted: "It was great chatting with all the Trump supporters in Tampa tonight. I took more questions from them than the president has taken from the press lately."

The bottom line: The vitriol between Trump's orbit and the press is only increasing and there will be increasing opportunities in the months to come for Trump's rally crowds to make their voices heard.

  • Flashback: Axios CEO Jim Vandehei spoke about Trump supporters' hostility toward the media last year on MSNBC's "Morning Joe": "He's playing with fire, and when someone gets hurt because of the words that he says and the provocations that he makes, that's on him."

Go deeper

Situational awareness

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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