On Wednesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta called out Fox News host Sean Hannity on Twitter after Hannity publicly approved of Trump supporters heckling Acosta at a rally on Tuesday. However, Hannity wasn’t the only one to encourage the supporters’ harassment—so did the president.
Let’s start from the beginning, at Trump’s rally in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday. Trump rallies are famous for inciting a mob mentality and often hate-filled chants such as “lock her up” when Trump mentions Hillary Clinton (and sometimes even when he doesn’t). However, on Tuesday, the chants began before Trump even took the stage. Acosta—a CNN reporter known for asking the president tough questions, often yelling them across rooms—was reporting live from the rally. However, during his report, the crowd began chanting, “CNN sucks,” “go home” and “fake news.” Nevertheless, Acosta maintained his composure and told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “Obviously, all of those things are false. We’re staying right here, we’re going to do our job and report on this rally to all of our viewers here tonight.”
WATCH: Supporters of President Trump Chant ‘CNN Sucks’ During Jim Acosta’s Live Spot at Florida Rally pic.twitter.com/2fwQQRVsQf— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) July 31, 2018
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
On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted Eric Trump's tweet about the harassment of Acosta in an apparent endorsement of it.
Following Trump's tacit approval of the situation, Hannity began his Wednesday show with a monologue about the rally. The monologue not only approved of the harassment but also encouraged it. Hannity spoke directly to Acosta and said, “The people of this country, they're screaming at you for a reason.” Also, notice the “anti-Trump media” graphic including almost every other prominent news outlet.
That brings us to Acosta's response on Twitter Wednesday night:
Hannity is a propagandist for profit, peddling lies every night. He says he's just a talk show host, not a journalist. But he's injecting poison into the nation's political bloodstream warping public attitudes about the press. I'm confident in the long run the truth will prevail.— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 2, 2018
Hannity responded once again:
Jimmy @Acosta sorry your precious feelings are hurt & that people see through your lying bullshit for what it is. FAKE NEWS. #CNNSUCKS— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 2, 2018
Trump has repeatedly attacked CNN and other news outlets such as NBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Hannity has long been a supporter of Trump and a mouthpiece for the “fake news” narrative that is ultimately inciting and encouraging violence against reporters of the free press. As the Washington Post pointed out, “Trump didn’t cause the Annapolis tragedy but there is a connection.” If the president’s attacks on the free press continue, violence against reporters will only increase. This week, Trump and Hannity demonstrated that they are unfazed by—and even encourage—that violence.