President Trump tweets about Kevin Vesey's confrontation with protesters, says 'FAKE NEWS IS NOT ESSENTIAL'
UPDATE - MAY 15, 9:47 P.M.: President Trump has tweeted about the confrontation between News 12 reporter Kevin Vesey and a group of angry protesters, echoing chants by those at the rally by saying, "FAKE NEWS IS NOT ESSENTIAL."
Original story below.
News 12 reporter Kevin Vesey went to a ‘reopening’ rally Thursday afternoon to tell the story of protesters who want Gov. Cuomo to lift COVID-related restrictions on Long Island.
What he got was confrontation and vitriol.
While filming a Facebook live segment, protesters hurled insults at News 12 and the media. They also tried to ignore social distancing guidelines by moving closer than 6 feet, forcing Vesey to continually back up to maintain a safe distance.
The response highlights a stark, and often partisan, fracture between those who want to take a measured approach to the reopening and those who think the restrictions have gone on long enough.
Kevin’s coverage of the scene was picked up by several media outlets as journalists encounter increased hostilities across the country.
Rolling stone highlighted the incident in a piece, saying, “The protesters were there to send a message about their displeasure with the safety policies put into place by the state due to the coronavirus. But if they truly want their reopen message to be heard, you’d think some media coverage would be welcome.”
VIDEO: Kevin Vesey breaks down his encounter with the protesters
The Washington Post also featured the incident in a larger piece about the increasingly heated anti-lockdown protests across the country, saying “At another Thursday protest in Commack, N.Y., Long Island protesters waved Trump 2020 banners and one held a sign that read, “Hang Fauci. Hang Gates. Open all our states.”
The New York Times also weighed in, tweeting about Vesey's experience in relation to a piece about the politicization of items surrounding the virus.
CNN’s Brian Stelter also talked about the confrontation in his blog, saying "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."
At the end of the day, Vesey’s piece on the protesters and their story made air. When it was finished, he tweeted, “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.”
He also thanked everyone for their support.