Fox News’ No. 1 host Sean Hannity and CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta don’t seem to be fond of one another. Acosta has been the subject of President Trump and his supporters’ ire since Inauguration Day for his style of questioning, while Hannity is President Trump’s biggest booster on television.
The conflict between Acosta and Trump supporters intensified the other night at a rally in Tampa, when the group went back to its “CNN sucks” chant during an Acosta live shot on The Situation Room. They were also sticking up their middle fingers and yelling other things at Acosta throughout the night.
Hannity addressed the situation during his opening monologue last night:
All right. This not the first time this happened and after what you just saw, Jim Acosta shared his fear of Trump supporters and he tweeted, quote, just a sample of the sad thing we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I am 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.
Jim, I’m a pretty prominent conservative in the country. Let me say this clearly and loudly. I want every journalist in this country, everyone, I don’t care who you work for, to be safe.
And I’ll tell you right now, I will be the first person to come to your defense if I’m there and anyone ever dares lay a hand on you. If I was standing there, if I see it happen, I will be the first person to jump in and fight on your behalf. Physical violence is never acceptable to me, nor is it acceptable to the conservatives I know and respect.
And let me also be clear, if you are a conservative, and by the way, you ever threaten anyone, you’re not a friend of mine, you’re not a friend of this program, and by the way — or the conservative movement of which I’m just a small part of.
Here’s what happened on Tuesday:
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
Acosta was doing a live shot for The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer during the rally, and explained what he was seeing:
Acosta: The White House has held only three briefings for the press this month, and eight total since the end of May. There is no other way to slide what the White House is doing these days, Wolf. Top officials, including the president are hiding from the press.
And, Wolf, just to give you a sense as to what’s happening right now, you could hear there is a chorus of boos and other chants in this Trump crowd here in Tampa, Florida. They’re saying things like CNN sucks, go home and fake news.
Wolf, 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, Wolf.
“Many Floridians in attendance let CNN’s Jim Acosta know exactly what they thought about his network’s partisan, abusively biased coverage,” Hannity told later told his audience, before playing a video montage.
Below is the transcript. Hannity spend a good chunk of time on Tuesday talking about Acosta:
Hannity: Jim, they’re not wrong. It’s not false. You’re probably watching because you don’t watch your own network.
I’m going to actually give your network some advice if you have an open mind and an open heart, maybe a little humility. The people of this country, they’re screaming at you for a reason. They don’t like you’re unfair, abusively bias treatment of the president of the United States.
Now, if you want to earn the respect of all Americans, not the coastal elites in California, L.A., San Francisco, D.C. and New York, maybe try reporting the entire story, maybe try getting rid of the bias, maybe examine why are people saying this to us? In other words, coverage like this from the White House correspondent at CNN, this is why they’re doing it.
After showing another video montage, this one of Acosta and Sarah Sanders going back and forth, Hannity spoke at length about Acosta:
Jim Acosta, that’s called opinion, and you’re extremely rude. Oh and a liberal partisan hack. That’s why Americans don’t trust you or fake new CNN. You pretend to be fair and unbiased journalists, you’re not.
You’re not reporting facts. You’re giving your opinion. You’re an opinion channel. Every minute of every day, every week, 24/7 hate Trump, and it’s pretty obvious and the people see it.
So, instead of maybe doubling down on your anti-Trump rage, maybe look inward. Maybe find your Zen. Maybe find your inner peace. Analyze objectively the overwhelming, nonstop, hysterical coverage against the president.
In other words, maybe you will have a better luck getting an interview if you start being a little fair. Maybe, just maybe. You’ll take my advice, I tend to doubt it.
We do have a recent study, Fox News — that’s right, this channel, not fake news CNN, is among the most trusted brands in TV news. Now, sadly, I doubt CNN is going to take my advice.
So, while CNN continues to trash the president hour after hour, minute after minute, day after day, many on the left, other Never Trumpers are engaging in rhetoric that is even worse, literally bottom of the barrel.
Now, this week, on Twitter, one congressional candidate from Oregon used one of the single most vulgar terms to describe the first lady of the United States. Imagine the outrage if a Republican candidate ever said the same thing about the former first lady, Michelle Obama. The outrage from these very same people would be nonstop, but the media has largely ignored the story.
So, some Republicans are calling for to get her to ban this deranged Trumpet hater from their social media platform. We’re not going to hold our breath.
But with 98 short days until these important midterms, each night on this program we will do something that your mainstream media will not do. We’ll actually show you the very worst rhetoric coming out of the Democratic Party. It happens every single election cycle. They will call Republicans racist, sexist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, who want dirty air, dirty water, they want to throw granny over the cliff and kill children. And just like the attacks on Melania Trump.
There’s only one way to counter the deranged left wing in this country. If you care about your rights, if you care about this country, if you care about the president’s successful agenda, you better get your ass and go vote in November because the future of the country does depend on it.
Democrats have their post-election agenda in place. If they win and 98 days, you see on the screen what they will do.
After Hannity’s monologue on Wednesday (and during the Wednesday broadcast) Acosta fired back last night via Twitter, referring to the 9 p.m. host as “a propagandist for profit,” among other things:
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
Then, Hannity responded late last night:
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 2, 2018