Trump Supporters Hate The Press Because We Show Them For What They Are

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Me at a Trump rally in 2016. I’m wearing the black hat.

CNN’s “Reliable Sources” White House reporter April Ryan made a startling comment about the state of the country. She said Steve Bannon had told her that if she went to a Trump rally in a red state, she would be viewed as “the enemy.” Brian Kasem, White House reporter for Playboy, also told a similarly disturbing story. He said that when he goes to Trump rallies, the attendees ask him what his last name is and if he’s a Muslim.

This shows us how far we’ve fallen. Now reporters are openly threatened because of their ethnic background. I guess this is the natural progression of the President of the United States whipping his supporters into a frenzy of hatred.

I’ve witnessed a Trump rally up close and personal. During the 2016 campaign, I decided to check out a Trump rally in Temecula, Calif. The president-to-be wasn’t there, but there were plenty of other freaks on display.

Birther Queen Orly Taitz spoke at the rally and repeated enough conspiracy theories to give Alex Jones a week of material. During her presentation, she claimed that President Barack Obama was using a social security card from someone born in the 19th century. Taitz, who was billed as a “constitutional scholar,” also claimed the government spent $200 billion on illegal immigration. Politifact ruled this to be mostly false.

I also talked to a gentleman who claimed that former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch helped Obama cover up his birth certificate fraud. And another speaker Tim Brown, former mayor of Canyon Lake, said he was worried about Sharia law coming to America, even though he lived in a small, desert town which is 80 percent white. He also failed to pronounce Sharia correctly. The crowd also chanted “Pink Slip Obama,” even though his term was going to end in 2016. It was like the Breitbart comments section come to life.

Now, things have got even worse. In recent rallies, Trump has mocked sexual assault survivors and jeered former Sen. Al Franken for stepping down after he faced groping accusations. So Trump basically laughed at him for doing the honorable thing.

Former “Daily Show” reporter Jordan Klepper recently interviewed attendees of a Trump rally in Mississippi. One of the women interviewed said that women often get raped “because of what they wear.”

Two years ago, I was aware that Trump was ginning up hatred against the press. I didn’t pull out my notebook, which was a good thing because the anger hanging in the air was palpable. Taitz even lead boos against the press.

Of course, there is a reason why Trump hates the press. They hold him accountable, they track his lies and they also report on his almost daily scandals. In an interview with a Trump supporter, I said the president is his own worst enemy. If he wants better press coverage, all he has to do is stop making stupid statements and creating fires. In addition, he has an entire media department whose job is to get him positive press. But Trump creates bad news faster than they can put out positive stories.

Trump claims to hate the press, but they’ve given him a lot of help. During the 2016 campaign, the so-called liberal media gave him $2 billion of free media, according to Media Matters. The press, which often ran images of empty stages before Trump showed up, fawned over the former reality TV star because he was a “good for ratings.”

Would I go to a Trump rally again? Definitely. And I would be objective. If I was treated well, I would report that. But if I had ethnic slurs yelled at me, had my life threatened and witnessed the president spew lies and conspiracy theories, I would also report that.

If Trump supporters, don’t like being portrayed as ignorant racists, who are immune to the facts, then maybe they should stop acting like that. The ball’s in your court.

Written by

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

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