Hannity defends heckling of Acosta, CNN: People are screaming at you for a reason

Fox News host Sean Hannity said late Tuesday that CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta deserved to be heckled  by supporters of President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE at a Florida rally, citing the network's "unfair, abusively biased treatment of the president." 

"I’m actually going to give your network some advice, if you have an open mind and an open heart," Hannity said, addressing Acosta in his opening monologue. "The people of this country are screaming at you for a reason. They don’t like your unfair, abusively biased treatment of the president of the United States."

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"If you want to earn the respect of all Americans, not the coastal elites in California, San Francisco and New York, maybe try reporting the entire story and getting rid of the bias," Hannity, a staunch supporter of the president, continued. "Maybe examine why people are saying this to us."

"In other words, coverage like this from the White House correspondent at CNN, this is why they are doing it. Take a look," the host said while tossing to a montage of Acosta providing opinions in his reporting of Trump in the past.

Trump was in Tampa Tuesday evening to campaign for Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is running for U.S. Senate; Rep. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisSchools without mask mandate 3.5 times more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks: CDC study Texas limits business with Ben & Jerry's over Israel move Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior — CDC panel approves boosters for some, but not based on jobs MORE (R-Fla.), who is running for governor; and Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzBipartisan senators to hold hearing on 'toxic conservatorships' amid Britney Spears controversy Eric Trump lawyer in New York attorney general's fraud case quits Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally MORE (R-Fla.), who is running for reelection.

Hecklers booed Acosta at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall during his report while chanting "CNN sucks," a common refrain at Trump rallies.

Trump regularly refers to CNN as "fake news." The president, who hasn't appeared on the network since Aug. 16, 2016, during his time as a candidate, also retweeted a tweet by his son Eric, who included video of Acosta being heckled with "CNN sucks" chants while adding the hashtag #Truth and the reporter's Twitter handle, @Acosta.

Acosta took to Twitter after the rally and called the booing a "sad scene" that may result in "somebody getting hurt" due to "hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media."

“Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa,” Acosta wrote. “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy.”