‘Fake news is not essential!’ Tense scene as reporter walks through NY lockdown protest and feels the disdain

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There’s a lot of frustration in the country today. Frustration over a two-month-long lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, and frustration with the media for being more obsessed with destroying President Trump than providing reliable information during an unprecedented national emergency.

These frustrations came together Thursday during a Long Island reopening rally, as the protesters let a local reporter know how they feel as he made his way through the crowd, chanting “fake news is not essential.”

News 12 Long Island reporter Kevin Vesey was covering the protest, with an emphasis on social distancing, and was ripped by person after person for being “fake news.” He shared a video online, and it was at the end of the clip that the chant broke out: “Fake news is not essential.”

“The level of anger directed at the media from these protestors was alarming,” Vesey tweeted. “As always, I will tell a fair and unbiased story today.”

With millions of Americans having their livelihoods taken away from them and any semblance of normalcy thrown out the window, New Yorkers turned out in force to call on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reopen the state.

In tweeting his filed report, Vesey made himself part of the story, reporting that he was “berated” by protesters “who refused to wear masks.”

“Once the rally really got started some of the rules went out the window,” the reporter said. “Many protesters directing their anger at the news media, some of them trying to prevent me from filing this report on Facebook Live and repeatedly invading my personal space.”

(He doesn’t explain how protesters would know that he was trying to file the report.)

“I’ll probably never forget what happened today,” Vesey tweeted. “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.”

Many of the people on hand were Trump supporters, and one man repeated a refrain heard from the president a time or two, calling the fake news media “the enemy of the people.”

With the crowd clearly having issues with his station, a woman is heard complaining that the affiliate stopped airing Trump’s briefings but still aired Cuomo’s briefings.

(To get a feel for the sentiment News 12 may have for the president, they blurred out the website link on the bottom of the Trump flags seen in the crowd.)

“You used to be a good channel at one time, I don’t know what happened to you,” one protester is heard saying.

“You’re disgusting,” another woman says. “You are the virus.”

In another video, this one shared online by the station, Vesey is seen engaging with the protesters around him, even disputing some of the things they are saying.

Of course, we only get the media’s take on events. It’s not clear what, if anything, took place off-camera to stir up the largely pro-Trump crowd — or if they just set upon him without provocation

The reporter was wearing a mask and repeatedly told those around him to maintain a 6-foot distance.

The aggressive behavior seen in the video may be the result of a biased media being totally oblivious to the distrust millions of Americans have for them. Some reporters, such as Vesey, respond as if they are the victims, lecturing those asking for fairness.

Interestingly, in the Facebook Live video, Vesey is seen walking through the crowd as he reports, and no one is approaching him or berating him. A man is seen giving him a two-finger peace sign.

As he shifts his coverage more to social distancing violations than the protest itself, the crowd slowly turns on him. Then Vesey can be heard mocking the crowd on camera for not liking his “last report.”

 

Posted by News 12 Long Island on Thursday, May 14, 2020

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Tom Tillison

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