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Baxter Troutman, wife bash ‘liberal’ media coverage of Trump rally

Republican Agriculture Commissioner candidate Baxter Troutman and his wife Becky are taking to the airwaves (and Internet) to criticize one reporter’s characterization of attendees at the Donald Trump rally Tuesday in Tampa as “hillbillies.”

The former state Representative from Winter Haven posted a Facebook video decrying the situation and suggesting more civility from the news media.


“During the event, the mainstream media really went after Trump supporters and calling them ‘toothless hillbillies’… and that is despicable.

“The liberal media, the left, is doing everything they can to discredit Republicans,” he said.

He ended his video telling journalists that they “have a responsibility to your views and readers…take the high ground, guys.”

Troutman’s complaints appear to be directed at POLITICO Florida reporter Marc Caputo, who on Wednesday retweeted a video of Trump supporters heckling CNN reporter Jim Acosta adding that “If you put everyone’s mouths together in this video, you’d get a full set of teeth.”

After writing that message, Caputo engaged in some back-and-forth with those offended by his remarks before issuing the following apology a few hours later:

Thursday, Becky Troutman released a statement of her own referring to the news media as “reporters” in quote marks, implying they really weren’t professional journalists.

She said: “‘Reporters’ attacking civilians for expressing their first amendment rights is despicable. And ‘reporters’ who engage in such behavior should no longer be considered reporters; they’re glorified ‘blogsters’ pushing an opinion.”

The comment was made by one reporter following the rally in which Trump pointed to the press section at the Florida State Fairgrounds and called them ‘fake news.” Videos shot that evening show several of Trump supporters turning and screaming at those in the press box and making derogatory remarks to them.

The reporter has since apologized for the emotional retort, but candidate Troutman said the situation is not diffused. But he continued to refer to professional journalists as the mainstream media rather than the president’s caustic terms.

Written By

Former Ledger of Lakeland columnist Bill Rufty is Central Florida political correspondent for SaintPetersBlog and Florida Politics. Rufty had been with the Ledger from 1985-2015, where, as political editor, he covered a wide range of beats, including local and state politics, the Lakeland City Commission, and the Florida Legislature. Ledger editor Lenore Devore said about Rufty’s 30-year career: “[He is] a man full of knowledge, a polling expert and a war history buff … who has a steel trap in his brain, remembering details most of us have long since forgotten.”

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