Accuracy in Media

A man wearing a Make America Great Again hat pushed a BBC cameraman Monday night at President Trump’s rally in El Paso.

In response, many mainstream media outlets turned to criticize Trump and his comments on the First Amendment.

It was “an incredibly violent attack,” the BBC’s Washington correspondent told to the media, even though the cameraman said he was “fine” moments later.

“Reporters have often been the target of jeering and threats at Trump’s campaign events,” Slate reported under “Trump Supporter Attacks BBC Cameraman at Rally” by Molly Olmstead. “At Monday’s rally, the president once again called the press ‘fake news,’ according to reports from the rally.

The Washington Post made the attack, which amounted to one shove by a man campaign officials said was drunk, sound even worse. “BBC cameraman was ‘violently pushed and shoved’ by man in MAGA hat at Trump rally,” read the headline over Lindsey Bever’s story.

The cameraman told BBC he felt a “’very hard shove’ that almost knocked him down,” Bever wrote. Gary O’Donoghue, also of BBC, tweeted the man “tried to smash our camera” and that this follows “multiple attacks on the media by the President and previous speakers – it’s shameful.”

In another tweet, he wrote, “Trump says, ‘is there any place more fun to be than a Trump rally” – well I can say it’s no fun for me and my team – Cameraman Ron Skeans and Producer Eleanor Montague facing a protestor shoving Ron and trying to smash his camera.”

No one else connected to the incident made the accusation about smashing the camera.

“Trump has continuously attacked the U.S. news media, labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the American people’ and calling much of their coverage of him ‘fake news.’ In the year after he was elected, Trump used the word ‘fake’ – as in ‘fake news,’ ‘fake stories,’ ‘fake media’ or ‘fake polls’ – more than 400 times, according to a CNN analysis last year.”

In “BBC says its cameraman was attacked at Trump rally” by Tara John, CNN asserted: “Trump has made hostility toward the media a feature of many of his rallies, where a metal barricade often separates his supporters from reporters. Some journalists have raised concerns over their safety.”

It also pointed to a tweet from CNN correspondent Jim Acosta, who was suspended from the White House in 2018 for grabbing the arm of an intern who was attempting to take a microphone from him at a press conference.

“Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worries 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.”

Vox noted in its headline: “A BBC cameraman was assaulted during Trump’s rally in El Paso. Trump kept attacking the media anyway” – subhead: “There’s also collusion between the Democrats and the fake news,” Trump said minutes later, as boos rained down.”

Vox then blamed a couple of incidents on Trump that facts have proven otherwise. “The incendiary rhetoric has consequences,” Aaron Rupar wrote for Vox. Rupar mentioned a man last fall who was caught sending packages made to look like bombs to various political figures.

“Days later, another man, motivated by conspiracy theories about migrant caravans, opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11,” Rupar wrote.

The man was a liberal, there were caravans then headed for the U.S. border, and the shooter was mad that George Soros, a Jew, was funding the caravans.  

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