MELBOURNE, FL — Within minutes of taking the stage at his first campaign-style rally since he became president, Donald Trump told his supporters he wanted to speak to them "without the filter of the fake news."
"They've become a big part of the problem," Trump told his cheering audience. "They are part of the corrupt system."
The crowd in attendance was happy to go along with Trump's anti-press rhetoric, which has become significantly more hostile since his press conference on Thursday and tweet on Friday calling many outlets "the enemy of the American People!" Many of his supporters told BuzzFeed News they see Trump as the truth teller.
"He tells the truth and all the rest of them are liars," one supporter told BuzzFeed News about Trump, who gained prominence as a creature of the New York City tabloid media and as a reality show star.
The rally, held in an airport hangar in Melbourne, Florida, took an unfriendly tone toward the press before Trump even took the stage. Notably, Diamond and Silk, sisters who stumped for Trump via YouTube, had the crowd chanting "CNN sucks" before it was even 5 p.m. (the rally's scheduled start time).
By the end of the evening, supporters approached the media pen, chanting "CNN sucks" and "tell the truth!"
"What you hear about chaos, I think that's really overblown," said Philip Wahlbom, 48, of Atlanta when asked what he thought about the beginning of the administration. "You have these reporters that want to highlight the things that maybe aren't going quite as [smoothly] as you would like them to, but by and large I think it's going just fine... . He's shaking things up, he's stirring the pot, he's kicking the hornet's nest, I think he's doing a great job."
Some of Trump's supporters told BuzzFeed News that their media consumption habits changed during the campaign.
One supporter told BuzzFeed News that she was turned off by a changed media landscape. "Our local paper fell apart," she said, and too many outlets rush to be first. Now, she said, she watches Right Side Broadcasting — a mostly YouTube channel that gained prominence by streaming every Trump campaign rally — and "watched MSNBC [on election night] because I wanted to see them whine."
Other supporters said they got their news from Facebook — recently embroiled in a controversy over promoting fake news — the National Enquirer, and Dennis Michael Lynch, who openly promotes news favorable to Trump.
"I was an avid CNN person. But even during the campaign ... you could see which way they were swaying, OK? I mean, it didn't take a rocket scientist to see they were against him," said Darlene Morris, 61, of Palm Bay, Florida. "And if I'm just a normal person and I could tell that, I'm sure [Trump] knows it."
"Now I don't watch but our Channel 13 news."
Some said they became more engaged with news and politics when Trump began running for office. Jeinne Eubanks, 56, of Summerfield, Florida, told BuzzFeed News she did not follow politics at all until she heard Trump was running.
"When my mom told me he was running, I'd never even watched news because I was always just so fed up with everything," Eubanks said. "I started paying attention, and I have just loved that man, would take a bullet for him, since day one."
When asked where she gets her news, Eubanks said she TiVo's Fox News.
"If I told you you did a sorry job ... every day, every day, every minute of the day, how long would it be before you would get disheartened?" Asked Richard Rowell, 74, of Waycross, Georgia. Rowell said that while he still watches a little bit of MSNBC, he stopped watching it regularly because he felt its reports were "negative."
When asked about what political issues supporters wanted the president to address at the rally, many listed the "liberal media."
Many others had complaints about "fake news." The phrase was a big topic of conversation among supporters as they waited for the president.
When asked what news he trusts to stay informed, one supporter answered that the president was the answer.
"We can trust Donald."
With reporting from Andrew Kimmel and Salvador Hernandez.