Assault On Press, Assaults Us All

Posted on May 30, 2017

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You may call this surprising, but I don’t, that a reporter was assaulted by a political candidate. Truth is, it is not surprising at all in today’s world.

For those who hadn’t heard: Greg Gianforte, a Montana Republican who was running for Congress, and who was elected the following day, was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly body slamming Ben Jacobs, who works for the British newspaper, “The Guardian”, hard enough to break his glasses.

This happened, because Jacobs tried to ask for Gianforte’s opinion of the GOP healthcare bill in the wake of an estimate from Congressional Budget Office that it would leave 23 million Americans without Healthcare.

In a statement, Gianforte”s campaign sought to paint the incident as a result of Jacob”s aggressiveness.

Problematically for Gianforte, his version of events is at odds with audio captured by Jacob’s recorder and Fox News video.

This incident is appalling, infuriating, disturbing. But, no, it is not surprising. Not after a congressman threatened to throw a reporter from a balcony. Not after the arrest of reporters covering a protest in Baton Rouge and arrests and intimidation of reporters covering unrest in Ferguson. Not after a West Virginia reporter was jailed for shouting questions.

The Gianforte’s alleged assault is the latest addition to a growing body of evidence suggesting right-wing intolerance, not simply for inconvenient facts, but also for pertinent questions, the one tool of the journalist’s trade, the other a part of the journalist job description.

And the assault on journalists comes at a time when President Trump declared journalists “enemies of the people.”

Down this path, then, lies potential disaster.

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