CNN’s Jim Acosta has become a face of the free, mainstream media in the United States standing against Donald Trump. He’s covered the Trump administration all around the world at this point, facing verbal abuse from the president and his supporters both at home and abroad. On Saturday, he responded perfectly to prominent conservative Charlie Kirk’s attempt to downplay that abuse.
Kirk tweeted an image of Acosta being friendly with some individuals at a recent Trump rally and wrote:
@Acosta is this the “life threatening” situation that you have been describing at the Trump rally? You are smiling and shaking hands with Trump supporters and look to be quite safe. Why are you peddling this fake hate against @realDonaldTrump and his base?’
The rally in question took place recently in Tampa, Florida. Trump was there to beef up the campaigns of Republican Florida gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis and U.S. Senate hopeful — and current Florida governor — Rick Scott. The harassment Acosta faced while covering that rally has been well documented at this point to the point of the president himself retweeting a video of what’s basically a mob of his supporters jeering at the reporter.
Kirk nevertheless thinks it’s appropriate to post one image of Acosta shaking a Trump supporter’s hand and use that as a springboard to attempt to erase all of the hate the prominent journalist has faced.
Responding to Kirk, Acosta wrote:
‘It’s called kindness… even in the face of some pretty harsh rhetoric. That’s how you talk to your fellow Americans. You might want to give it a try kid.’
It’s called kindness… even in the face of some pretty harsh rhetoric. That’s how you talk to your fellow Americans. You might want to give it a try kid. https://t.co/kReOfn50DM
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 4, 2018
Acosta has worked to defend a basic standard of rhetoric among Americans before. Just recently, he asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to assert that, despite the president’s jargon, the press is not the enemy of the people. She refused.
Afterwards, on CNN, Acosta commented:
‘It is un-American to come out here and call the press the enemy of the people… Fellow Americans are not the enemy of fellow Americans.’
Trump has repeatedly denounced “fake news” — aka most of the mainstream media — as the enemy of the people, including as recently as August 2, this past Thursday.
When Trump’s base accepts the idea that members of the media are their enemy, scenes like Acosta’s harassment in Tampa recently unfold.
After the Tampa rally, Acosta wrote on Twitter:
‘I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in someone getting hurt.’
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
To be sure, some members of the media have already been more than “hurt” under the Trump administration. Although the shooter’s harassment of the publication stretched back to before Trump’s presidency, it was with the rhetoric of Donald Trump reverberating through the national conversation that a gunman killed five people recently at the Capital Gazette in Maryland.
In the time since, the president has continued on with his hostile rhetoric against the media. When pressed, Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to condemn the treatment Acosta faced at the Tampa Trump rally, chalking it up to “free speech.” Trump ally Charlie Kirk’s preferred modus operandi is apparently to just pretend like the harassment doesn’t exist.
Check out Twitter’s response below.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot