Trump supporter ‘violently attacks’ BBC cameraman at rally after US president whips up anger over media

Crowd brought to ‘frenzy’ by Trump rhetoric, corporation claims

Tom Embury-Dennis
Tuesday 12 February 2019 09:49
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BBC Cameraman attacked during Donald Trump rally in El Paso

A Donald Trump supporter launched an “incredibly violent attack” on a BBC cameraman at a Texas rally during which the US president repeatedly whipped up the crowd’s anger over supposed media bias.

The BBC’s Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, who is blind, said his colleague Ron Skeans had been filming Donald Trump’s campaign-style rally in El Paso on Monday evening when the incident occurred.

He said the supporter of Mr Trump climbed on to the reporters’ platform and pushed the camera into his colleague before continuing to push Mr Skeans.

“It was an incredibly violent attack. Fortunately our cameraman is fine, he is made of stern stuff,” Mr O’Donoghue told the Today programme.

Mr O’Donoghue posted footage from Mr Skeans’s camera on Twitter, writing: “This is the shameful moment when my cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked by @realdDonaldTrump supporter in El Paso – after the President repeatedly goaded the crowd over supposed media bias.”

The video shows the shot focused on Mr Trump before jolting away.

After it bounces around for a few seconds, the camera comes back into focus on a man in a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap being restrained by another man in a black T-shirt.

The restrained man twice shouts, “F*** the media!”, before being dragged away by the black T-shirted man and removed from the platform.

Video footage of Mr Trump shows the president during the incident ask the assembled journalists: “You alright? Everything OK?”

Mr O’Donoghue said:. “This is a constant feature of these rallies – a goading of the crowds against the media.

“I have been spat at before, they hurl abuse at American colleagues in particular.”

Eleanor Montague, the BBC’s Washington news editor, shared the same footage on Twitter and said the crowd had been “whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night”.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Ron Skeans was violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd while covering a President Trump rally in Texas last night. The man was removed by security and Ron is fine. The president could see the incident and checked with us that all was OK.

“It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.”

Towards the beginning of the rally, Mr Trump claimed the media had “gone down a long way” due to its coverage of him, and said it “refuses to acknowledge” his perceived achievements.

Without providing any evidence or context, he later accused media outlets of “collusion” with the Democratic Party, triggering boos from the crowd and chants of: “CNN sucks!”

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