The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi followed CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta as he covered yet another Trump rally. Yes, Acosta continues to receive taunts and insults, but according to Farhi, tons of rallygoers also also ask him for selfies, while the countless other journalists continued to go about their business unrecognized and unbothered.
“Ever since he started on the Trump beat, Acosta has known that such events can be fraught. Acosta is both a recognizable face and a walking incitement to members of Trump Nation. He’s something like the star of the opposing team at a home game – a villain, a target.”
One example of the Erie, Pa. rally:
Spotting Acosta idling in the press pen, John DeAngelo stops a few feet away, points and then goes into a kind of crude Marcel Marceau routine. His face an angry mask, he raises one middle finger toward the reporter, then the other, and then begins pumping both up and down in rapid succession. Then he points again at Acosta and puts an index finger to his mouth and makes gagging noises.
Acosta apparently doesn’t see the bit. He doesn’t respond.
“He’s horrible,” DeAngelo, a carpenter from western New York, says a few seconds later. “CNN’s horrible. CNN’s not news. It’s more like a tabloid than a news network. It’s so one-sided.”
DeAngelo doesn’t cite anything specific about Acosta’s reporting, as is typical. Among the Trump faithful, Acosta-hate seems to be more of a feeling than a particular set of facts. It’s not something he’s reported; it’s just . . . him.
The reception Acosta gets abroad is far different, where people are much more polite towards the press, Farhi writes, than “the different country” Acosta says he sees when in Erie or in Tampa, Fla.
Acosta tells Farhi that Trump isn’t always the source of the anger. It’s increasingly conservative media outlets, like Fox News.
“A lot of people view this through the prism of conservative media,” Acosta tells Farhi. “If you stay on Fox, Infowars, Breitbart or Daily Caller, you’ll see something [inflammatory] about us. That’s what supercharges everyone.”