Reporter Allegedly Assaulted in Montana

Analysis by Reporting San Diego

Audio via the Guardian

May 24, 2017 (BOZEMAN, MONTANA) Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was allegedly assaulted by Greg Gianforte, Republican candidate for the House. According to the Guardian, Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault. Allegedly he slammed Jacobs to the floor and broke his glasses.

Here is part of the exchange:

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire running for the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “I think he wailed on me once or twice … He got on me and I think he hit me … This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

The Fox National crew witnessed this. Alicia Acuna added some more details to the account from the Guardian. According to the Fox reporter:

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!

The special election is in the morning and the Missoulian has rescinded their endorsement. They were followed by the Billings Gazette. In recent weeks polling had tightened, However, people have already voted, so nobody knows what the effect will be. They are also reporting as follows when it comes to the charges:

“Following multiple interviews and an investigation by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office it was determined there was probable cause to issue a citation to Greg Gianforte for misdemeanor assault,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement released at about 10:30 p.m.

The campaign issued a statement earlier in the day, that does not match any of the other accounts.

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However, this is one more symptom of the environment in which media operates. It is increasingly hostile. The fact that the Sheriffs Office has chosen to file charges is a good thing. Reporters need to do their jobs without fearing for their safety.

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