POLITICS
08/01/2018 04:47 am ET Updated Aug 01, 2018

CNN's Jim Acosta Warns Anti-Media Hostility Is Going To Get Someone Hurt

“We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy.”

CNN’s Jim Acosta was met with a familiar scene on Tuesday at President Donald Trump’s rally in Tampa, Florida: shouting crowds and middle fingers.

Acosta, the outlet’s senior White House correspondent, shared a video of his encounter with the president’s supporters late Tuesday, including footage of rally-goers wearing shirts reading “Fuck the Media” and others screaming “stop lying.”

“Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa,” Acosta wrote. “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt.”

He continued: “We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy.”

Other footage of angry rally goers chanting “CNN sucks” was quickly shared by Trump’s son, Eric, who added a simple addendum reading “Truth.” The message was later retweeted by the president.

The video reflects a growing divide between many members of the press and Trump’s supporters. The president recently doubled down on his attacks, telling those gathered at a convention in Kansas City, Mo, not to “believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.”

“Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” he said.

Acosta himself has become a frequent target of such ire and was berated and told to “go home” at another event in June.

Tuesday’s rally sparked criticism from many, including former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who said the “free press needs to be protected as well as their opinions.”

“I don’t always agree and am often upset with journalists but we are flashing warning lights now that we shouldn’t be flashing,” he wrote. 

The warnings echo another made by a leading media figure in recent days. A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, said he met with Trump earlier this month for an off-the-record conversation. The president then tweeted about the encounter, prompting Sulzberger to release a statement about his opposition to Trump’s treatment of the media.

“My main purpose for accepting the meeting was to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” Sulzberger said. “I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous.”

“I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people,’” he continued. “I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.”

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