CNN’s Jim Acosta was mercilessly heckled by supporters of President Donald Trump at his rally in West Columbia, South Carolina, on Monday.
Upon noticing Acosta, Trump fans began shouting “Go home, Jim!” at the reporter, including one older, enraged woman identified as Maria Rojas. Trump went to South Carolina to help campaign for Republican Gov. Henry McMaster who is up against another Republican, John Warren, in a run-off election, according to The Hill.
Several fellow reporters who attended the event shared accounts of hearing people chant “CNN sucks” at Acosta while waiting for Trump to take the podium.
Sitting next to @Acosta is the ... ahem ... "best" seat in the house. Frequent chanting of "@CNN sucks," "Go home, Jim," after which many have then asked for selfies and autographs. 🤷♀️😂 #SCGov pic.twitter.com/lo76znlmvi— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) June 25, 2018
Here she is in action: pic.twitter.com/4cc6mYWKsZ— Henry J. Gomez (@HenryJGomez) June 25, 2018
It’s no secret that Acosta’s reporting has been critical of Trump's administration, and the president has slammed him, individually, as well as the entire network on many occasions. He has dubbed CNN “dishonest” and labeled them one of the “fake news media” outlets he regularly lambasts.
The problem, though, is that Trump’s frequent attacks against outlets that he doesn’t like create a climate that threatens the freedom of the press, which is protected by the Constitution. Furthermore, it puts reporters like Acosta in danger when having to cover events where the president’s angry fan base could pose a threat.
For instance, one supporter purportedly got in Acosta’s face and shouted “get the f*** out.” Aggressive behavior like that could very well escalate into a physical altercation.
Just because Trump and his fans may not agree with CNN's coverage of him does not give them the right to impede Acosta's ability to do his job. This type of behavior is unacceptable and should not be endorsed by the president of the United States, of all people.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore