President Donald Trump held a rally in Tampa, Florida Tuesday night and his supporters demonstrated the damage the president's relentless attacks on the free press have done.
Thousands of Trump fans were lined up all day in the steamy Florida sun, eager to participate in what is sure to be an echo chamber of falsehoods and attacks on the media.
The crowd's behavior toward one veteran journalist offered a dark preview of what would surely come.
CNN's Jim Acosta was jeered by Trump supporters as he was standing on a podium reporting about the event.
Rallying cries of boos, people shouting "traitor," and "you're a liar" were lobbed at Acosta.
This is what’s happening at the Trump rally in Tampa as @Acosta does a live shot. Folks booing, shouting “traitor,”… https://t.co/cmQzxnTJ4M— Ali Vitali (@Ali Vitali)1533071200.0
Then the crowd began chanting, "CNN sucks!" at Acosta as he struggled to hear his own words.
@realDonaldTrump supporters protest against @CNN reporter @Acosta at @realDonaldTrump rally in Tampa, Florida.… https://t.co/mHrGr3RrPu— Octavio Jones (@Octavio Jones)1533072006.0
The president hadn't even arrived yet, and social media was blowing up with people wondering why the media continues to give Trump and his supporters airtime.
@OctavioJones @realDonaldTrump @CNN @Acosta @TB_Times STOP covering these propaganda rallies live.— Amy Smith (@Amy Smith)1533072319.0
@OctavioJones @realDonaldTrump @CNN @Acosta @TB_Times Hate rallies, why is the media covering them? No one cares ex… https://t.co/oh5X0Jrk8n— Angry lady mob (@Angry lady mob)1533072699.0
@OctavioJones @realDonaldTrump @CNN @Acosta @TB_Times @Acosta pack up and leave this is not new worthy, @CNN we won… https://t.co/FQ5B1obmli— Delfina Valdez (@Delfina Valdez)1533073418.0
@OctavioJones @realDonaldTrump @CNN @Acosta @TB_Times Why send reporters? He says the same thing every time and cal… https://t.co/ocoyJ9wckI— Caron Craig (@Caron Craig)1533072995.0
Thankfully, the Internet has Acosta's back.
@OctavioJones @realDonaldTrump @CNN @Acosta @TB_Times The majority of Americans strongly support you @Acosta— oneiroi (@oneiroi)1533072826.0
@alivitali @dcbigjohn @Acosta They need glasses! Jim Acosta doesn’t look like Trump at all.— hg murray (@hg murray)1533071707.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @Acosta @realDonaldTrump @Acosta is Everyman in America right not who is asking for the truth about… https://t.co/G6RcAdd3TZ— Thirtysixmiles (@Thirtysixmiles)1533073296.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @Acosta @realDonaldTrump Hang in there brother.— ➿Drew➿ (@➿Drew➿)1533072502.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @TeresaHutson1 @Acosta @realDonaldTrump A lot of Americans are with you Jim...— Bec (@Bec)1533074442.0
Trump has repeatedly referred to the media as "fake news" and "the real enemy of the people."
The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1487368102.0
Had a very good and interesting meeting at the White House with A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher of the New York Times. S… https://t.co/GqF86BfAZp— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1532867404.0
Trump's onslaught of attacks on the media all have one thing in common: it's "fake news" when coverage is negative.
Frankly, that's Trump's own fault and one can only imagine how much worse his attacks may get as the president's litany of scandals begin to close in on him.
More importantly, Trump has demonstrated complete apathy concerning the safety of journalists.
When five people were killed in an Annapolis, Maryland newsroom last month in a targeted massacre of Capital Gazette staff, Trump feigned sympathy for the victims and their families...
Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts… https://t.co/DUhjdWWxBP— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530218995.0
Before going any further today, I want to address the horrific shooting that took place yesterday at the Capital Ga… https://t.co/wcukrK7M48— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530295162.0
...and then less than a week later returned to his "fake news" diatribe. What makes this particular tweet even richer is that North Korea has been ramping up its production of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. We know where the "fake news" is coming from, Mr. President.
Many good conversations with North Korea-it is going well! In the meantime, no Rocket Launches or Nuclear Testing i… https://t.co/FliQhVIZNO— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530616578.0
Thus, concerns over the safety of members of the press abounded on Twitter.
"This is DANGEROUS," one user responded.
If @Acosta or some other member of the press gets hurt, #MAGA MORON leader, @realDonaldTrump will have BLOOD on his… https://t.co/JlCY6Bt8cZ— ᎠᏌNᎬᎷYᎢᎻᎪNᏩ™️ (@ᎠᏌNᎬᎷYᎢᎻᎪNᏩ™️)1533072439.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @JessieBahrey @Acosta Do you honestly believe that Trump cares if @Acosta gets hurt??Trump will pro… https://t.co/ErGBlXmZYX— Maneesh "Jay" Sharma™🇺🇸🔄 (@Maneesh "Jay" Sharma™🇺🇸🔄)1533073439.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @Acosta @realDonaldTrump He already has plenty of blood on his hand.— Dan. (@Dan.)1533073669.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @Acosta @realDonaldTrump CNN should hire bodyguards for Acosta!— Patricia Martin (@Patricia Martin)1533073626.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @Acosta @realDonaldTrump He already has 5 reporters blood on his hands. That guy was specifically p… https://t.co/BNIXGoXtJY— cirebackward (@cirebackward)1533072698.0
@Kris_Sacrebleu @volksfan2 @Acosta @realDonaldTrump Trump is encouraging violence.— mike higgins (@mike higgins)1533075653.0
What the president is doing amounts to an existential and institutional threat to democracy. The media would be wise to combat Trump's rhetoric by ceasing to give him a platform on which he can further erode our sacred freedom of the press.