This evening (5/24/17)I was watching the news, when there was a break in the programming ,to report on the Montana republican candidate Greg Gianforte having body slammed a Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs to the ground and broke his glasses.
There was an audio recording where the audience could hear how loud and upset the candidate became towards the reporter who was inquiring about the non partisan Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) numbers for the republican house’s recent passage of the American Healthcare Act (AHCA).
It turns out that Mr. Gianforte was screaming in anger about the last Guardian reporter and a Guardian publication, itself. It seems the Guardian had published a post about Mr. Gianforte’s investments in Russian entities, as per the 4/28/17 report on Gianforte’s financial ties to Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the US.
In addition, there was a FOX News journalist Alicia Acuna who witnessed the republican candidate Mr. Gianforte commit a battery on the Guardian reporter, Mr. Jacobs. As per her 5/24/17, “Jacobs persisted with his question (About the AHCA CBO numbers). Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.
“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 man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of “I’m sick and tired of this!”
“Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken.”
The police were called to the scene but by that time Mr. Gianforte had excited the scene.
Three local papers have withdrawn their support of this republican candidate.
On May 25, 2017, there is a Montanan special election being held to replace the US congressional seat vacated by the current republican Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Mr. Gianforte, a republican is running against the democrat candidate Rob Quist.
This has been an unexpectedly close race where President Trump prevailed in Montana by over 20%. But this is a competition where the topic of access to affordable health insurance has been the number 1 hot topic issue.
Unfortunately, Mr. Gianforte has been caught on tape indicating his support for the republican’s repeal and replacement of Obamacare which might explain his hair trigger response to being questioned about this topic.
This mistreatment of the press by political candidates is un-American and unacceptable. Mr Gianforte put out a statement blaming the reporter for the altercation but his version is belied by the existence of an audio recording and an eye witness.
Here is the rest of the story…
On 5/24/17, Julia Carrie Wong of The Guardian penned the following article, “Republican candidate ‘body-slams’ Guardian reporter in Montana.”
“The Republican candidate for Montana’s congressional seat slammed a Guardian reporter to the floor on the eve of the state’s special election, breaking his glasses and shouting, “Get the hell out of here.”
“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. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”
“Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin County sheriff’s office is investigating the incident.”
“A statement by campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon blamed Jacobs for the incident, saying that he “entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking questions”.
“Jacobs was asked to leave,” the statement reads. “After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.”
“It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”
“Scanlon’s account appears to be contradicted by audio of the abortive interview recorded by Jacobs. The audio does not capture Jacobs being asked to leave or lower his recorder, but does contain an apparent reference to the Guardian’s previous attempts to report on Gianforte. “I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte said. “The last guy who came here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”
“Yes! You just broke my glasses,” Jacobs replied.
“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.”
“You just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.”
“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte yelled.”
“The altercation took place at Gianforte’s campaign headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. Gianforte was in a side room with a local television news crew when Jacobs attempted to ask his question, according to Jacobs.”
“I decided there was no harm in asking one question, and the worst thing that could happen was they would tell me to go to hell,” Jacobs said.”
“Jacobs’s account was partially confirmed by BuzzFeed News reporter Alexis Levinson, who wrote on Twitter that she had been in an adjacent room during the incident.”
“This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn’t see it all, but here’s what it looked like from the outside – Ben walked into a room where a local tv crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte. All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor. Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) – sounded like Gianforte…”
“Levinson later tweeted Gianforte left the event without speaking and that the Gallatin County Sheriffs department was taking witness statements.”
“Gallatin County sheriff Brian Gootkin confirmed to the Guardian that his department was “currently investigating” the incident and declined to comment.”
“The special election has attracted national attention, and spending has reached $17m as the race has tightened. Democrat Rob Quist is a political novice and folksinger. Quist declined to comment on the altercation when approached by reporters on (5/24/17).”
“Gianforte is a (NJ) tech mogul who mounted an unsuccessful campaign for governor (of Montana) in 2016.”