'Murphy Brown' episode focuses on assault of reporter at Trump rally

The latest episode of CBS's “Murphy Brown” focused on a reporter being assaulted at a fictitious rally featuring President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE.

Thursday's episode depicted the character of Frank, played by Joe Regalbuto, being attacked by supporters while covering a “Trump” rally in Pennsylvania, as first reported by Entertainment Weekly.


The show impersonates Trump on stage and has him go after the show’s title character, Murphy Brown, the same way he frequently goes after other journalists by name.

“Anybody catch old Murphy on TV this morning?” the fake Trump said. “Yes, she was at it again sitting there with her flunky friends, telling their big lies, planting their fake stories about our great country.”

He then calls out Frank, who is in the crowd, giving the character one of his insulting nicknames.

“I hear old Murphy’s partner in crime, fibbing Frank Fontana is here tonight. Where is he? There he is. See him? That’s right,” the fake Trump said. “Let fibbin’ Frank know what you think of him. Maybe a good body slam. What do you say?”

Frank is assaulted by Trump supporters at the rally and airlifted to a hospital.

Lying in a hospital bed with a bruised face, he says he only remembers being surrounded by a “sea of red hats.”

“I guess when you major in journalism these days you have to minor in kickboxing,” quips Brown, played by actress Candice Bergen. 

Brown later confronts a woman who attacked Frank, asking why she would punch someone “for simply doing their job.”

“He had it coming,” the woman replies, using a pair of phrases Trump often deploys at members of the media he sees as adversarial. “He’s fake news. He’s the enemy of the people.”

Later in the episode, Murphy’s son, Avery, also gets punched by two people he is interviewing on the air. 

Trump, who has a contentious relationship with the press, came under hot water last month after he praised a Republican congressman who had pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter. 

Diane English, the show’s creator, told The Hollywood Reporter that they felt the show needed to address the president’s hostility toward the press following Trump’s praise of Rep. Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteBipartisan governors press Biden administration on Canadian border restrictions Overnight Energy: Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections | Biden to return to pre-Obama water protections | Western governors ask Biden for aid on wildfires Western governors ask Biden for aid on wildfires MORE (R-Mont.), who body-slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs last year.

“We pushed our episode a little farther than I think we intended it originally, because the feeling was pretty much that if it continues like this, somebody really is going to get hurt,” English said.

She said it was “very frightening” how real the show’s cautionary tale seemed.

"This is what's going to happen if people are encouraged to look at journalists as people not to be trusted and people who are trying to bring down the president or people who make things up and are very bad people," English said.

Television networks are reportedly boosting security details for reporters covering Trump's campaign-style rallies in light of his escalating rhetoric against the press.