Montana might be Big Sky Country, but tonight it’s Big Slam Country.
A Guardian political reporter, Ben Jacobs, was asking Republican nominee Greg Gianforte about the Republican health care plan when Gianforte body slammed the reporter and broke his glasses. “He took me to the ground,” Jacobs reported to the Guardian. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”
Immediately after the altercation, Jacobs tweeted, “Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses. There was a local TV crew there when Gianforte body slammed me. Audio is posting soon at @GuardianUS.” The audio posted on the Guardian’s website confirms the scuffle.
Campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon released a statement blaming Jacobs for the altercation. “He entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave,” reads the statement. “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.”
BuzzFeed News reporter Alexis Levinson partially witnessed the altercation. She tweeted: “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 also tweeted: “He [Gianforte] is leaving the event without speaking. The event was supposed to end an hour and fifteen minutes from now. I asked his aide what we going on and wouldn’t answer.”
CNN host Anderson Cooper said he believes there’s a direct connection between Trump’s administration and the “environment of antipathy toward reporters and this sort of license to act out on it.”
Apparently, the politicians feel reporters no longer deserve rights in this Red State Disaster!
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.