There’s no excuse that will ever be enough to smooth over the treatment of the press at the typical Trump rally. Trump’s rallies are the equivalent of uncovering a sewer and having the contents back up into your front yard.
They are grotesque in their incivility towards those who are not on board the Trump train. They seethe with every nasty, corrupt emotion, and it’s all part of the rise of Trumpism.
Trump, himself, is a liar and a braggart. He is uncivil, unschooled, and rejects wisdom and character. In his view, only wealth and power are worthy of respect. When those attitudes collide, you get the petty, angry man currently in the Oval Office. His wealth is nothing, compared to those who earned their wealth through vision and hard work, rather than a trust fund.
We used to be an America that valued the better angels, but in our downward spiral, we get the toothless, rancorous maw that is a Trumpian worship session, like what went on in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night.
Trump took his travelling rage show to Tampa, in support of Florida Governor Rick Scott, as he makes a run for the Senate. He was also there to support two Trump loyalists, Representative Ron DeSantis, who is running for governor, and Representative Matt Gaetz, who is running for reelection.
Of course, as it is with all the sideshow wonder of a Trump rally, the press was there, including Jim Acosta, of CNN.
To be clear, Acosta can be preening and dramatic in his coverage. I get being rubbed the wrong way by the guy.
What I don’t get is the need to attack him, simply because of his presence. If he’s just there, you don’t go after him. You don’t make a scene. Whether you like his work or not, there’s no excuse for an attack. Leave the man alone.
Hecklers booed Acosta at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall during his report while chanting “CNN sucks,” a common refrain at Trump rallies.
Trump regularly refers to CNN as “fake news.” The president, who hasn’t appeared on the network in nearly two years going back to Aug. 16, 2016 during his time as a candidate, also retweeted out a tweet by his son, Eric, who included video of Acosta being heckled with “CNN sucks” chants while adding the hashtags “#Truth” and “@Acosta,” the reporter’s Twitter handle.
Acosta posted video of how that scene looked. How many “evangelicals” can you pick out of that crowd?
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
That was awful. It was inexcusable, and anyone attempting to excuse it away or justify it is of a lower life form.
So of course, enter President Trump’s favored pet, Sean Hannity.
Hannity, who long ago laid his soul at the foot of the orange altar, used his platform to directly address Acosta, explaining how he got what he deserved.
“I’m actually going to give your network some advice, if you have an open mind and an open heart,” Hannity said, addressing Acosta in his opening monologue. “The people of this country are screaming at you for a reason. They don’t like your unfair, abusively biased treatment of the president of the United States.”
Hannity mentioning an open mind and an open heart is the height of hypocrisy.
“If you want to earn the respect of all Americans, not the coastal elites in California, San Francisco and New York, maybe try reporting the entire story and getting rid of the bias,” Hannity, a staunch supporter of the president, continued. “Maybe examine why people are saying this to us.
“In other words, coverage like this from the White House correspondent at CNN, this is why they are doing it. Take a look,” the host said while tossing to a montage of Acosta providing opinions in his reporting of Trump in the past.
Hannity is telling Acosta to get in line. Forget that there is still a large segment of Americans who don’t agree with the Trump agenda. They don’t buy the whole Trump-as-messiah shtick that Fox News is pushing.
I don’t care what Acosta says or how he feels about Donald Trump. The attitude and behavior of the typical Trump devotee is unacceptable in a civil society.
One gets the impression that if all Trump supporters were gathered up and dropped on a deserted island to form their own, exclusive colony, within weeks, other than the altars to Trump constructed from Budweiser cans, they’d soon devolve into cannibalism and human sacrifices.
Surprisingly, a call for calm, reasonable restraint came from a former Trump team member.
Anthony Scaramucci – of all people – chimed in on Wednesday with the reasoned approach.
Scaramucci served a mere 10 days as White House communications director, before his own caustic words resulted in his ouster.
He’s not wrong here, though. He makes perfect sense.
“This isn’t our best. It’s not who we are,” Scaramucci tweeted, quoting a tweet from Acosta that showed a video of rally attendees shouting at the White House correspondent.
“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.”
You are correct, Sir, and thank you for speaking up.
None of this is what our founders intended for our nation. None of this is acceptable.
It’s not just sad, it’s sick. And it’s frightening, because I don’t think it ends here. I don’t think it ends well, at all.