President Donald Trump is tweeting his support for a group of protestors who tried to intimidate a local news reporter on Long Island. News 12 reporter Kevin Vesey was covering a rally by a conservative group protesting stay at home orders in Commack, New York when a handful of people started following and berating him, many without masks, getting way too close. He was called “traitor,” “disgusting,” “a virus” and more.
I'll probably never forget what happened today.
I was insulted. I was berated. I was practically chased by people who refused to wear masks in the middle of a pandemic.
All the while, I was there to tell THEIR story. Here's the finished product. pic.twitter.com/HV2Hrcs7gi
— Kevin Vesey (@KevinVesey) May 14, 2020
Many of us who saw the video were disgusted by the behavior, but not Donald Trump. He tweeted twice this morning about the video saying “People can’t get enough of this. Great people!” And when Vesey tweeted a video about what happened, Trump replied with a phrase some of the protestors used, “fake news is not essential.” This is where it’s especially important to note that Vesey was actually invited by the protesters to cover their event. We should also point out that Vesey is not a commentator who shares opinions. He is said to be a well-respected, impartial reporter. And the report he filed that day, even after he was mistreated, demonstrates someone covering the news honestly as he sees it, with no spin.
“FAKE NEWS IS NOT ESSENTIAL!”https://t.co/5286zgRVWQ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2020
This crowd didn’t reflect all Trump supporters, nor did it reflect all Long Islanders. But these behaviors toward the news media — the intolerance, the indecency — have all been modeled by President Trump for several years. No one should be surprised to see it infect local communities. But everyone should be disturbed by it. Constructive critiques make journalism better, but destructive attacks make society worse.
The organizers of this protest apologized to @KevinVesey for what happened and said in that statement there would always be some who would come to “disrupt an otherwise peaceful, pleasent demonstration and they should have been removed by Police.” https://t.co/tYXvSTlbcV
— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) May 16, 2020
To see Vesey’s take on what happened, watch his recap above.
*This post contains opinion and analysis