“Go home, Jim!” they added later — a taunt that sounded especially menacing when aimed at a reporter with a Hispanic surname and a father who fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

These were tense moments. But before long, Acosta made his way to the metal barricade separating the media from the angry horde assembled at the latest Donald Trump rally. He posed for selfies, first with a kind woman who genuinely seemed to want one, and then with others who appeared more eager to share the moments ironically on social media.

Then something even stranger happened: Acosta began signing autographs. A slip of paper here, a campaign sign there. Even the bill of one “Make America Great Again” hat. Eventually one of his most persistent hecklers — a young man with a long, scruffy beard, wearing a MAGA cap backwards and a MAGA flag as a cape — engaged Acosta in a friendly conversation. By the end of the exchange, the Trump fan was begging Acosta for an on-air shoutout.