Right-wing media jump to defend Montana candidate after he assaults a reporter

Right-wing media jump to defend Montana candidate after he assaults a reporter

››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

After Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Congress in Montana, was charged with assaulting a journalist, some right-wing media figures and outlets immediately came to his defense, attacking the reporter as a “hack” and asking, “What kind of a wuss files charges over broken glasses?”

Montana congressional candidate “charged with assault” against a reporter

AP: Montana GOP candidate charged for “allegedly grabbing a reporter by the neck and throwing him to the ground.” Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana's congressional seat, was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking a journalist, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The AP story quoted an article by Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, who was a witness at the scene, writing that Gianforte grabbed The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs “by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground,” and "then began to punch Jacobs.” The AP also noted that an audio recording of the assault shows that it occurred after Jacobs asked Gianforte “about the GOP’s health care bill” which was followed by a “crashing sound” before Jacobs can be heard saying Gianforte “‘just body-slammed him.” From the May 25 AP report:

The Republican candidate in the nationally-watched election Thursday for Montana’s sole congressional seat has been charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly grabbing a reporter by the neck and throwing him to the ground.

[...]

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin made the announcement shortly before midnight Wednesday in a written statement, about six hours after the attack on reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian. Gianforte would face a maximum $500 fine or 6 months in jail if convicted.

Gianforte was in a private office preparing for an interview with Fox News when Jacobs came in without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said.

The Fox News crew watched in astonishment as, after Jacobs pressed him on the GOP health care bill, “Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,” Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna wrote in an article. She added that Gianforte then began to punch Jacobs.

In an audio recording posted by the Guardian, the reporter asks the congressional candidate about the GOP’s health care bill, which was just evaluated hours earlier by the Congressional Budget Office.

“We’ll talk to you about that later,” Gianforte says on the recording, referring Jacobs to a spokesman.

When Jacobs says that there won’t be time, Gianforte says “Just--” and there is a crashing sound. Gianforte yells, “The last guy who came here did the same thing,” and a shaken-sounded Jacobs tells the candidate he just body-slammed him.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte says. [The Associated Press, 5/25/17]

Right-wing media jump to Gianforte’s defense

Daily Caller’s Derek Hunter: “What kind of a wuss files charges over broken glasses? Someone who wants to influence an outcome, that’s who.”

[Twitter, 5/24/17]

Infowars: Jacobs is a “long-standing Democratic operative” and a “hack reporter” whose account “sounds rather exaggerated.” Infowars cross-posted a piece from Information Liberation titled “Liberal Guardian Journalist Interferes In Montana Election, Gets Body Slammed.” The piece claimed that Jacobs is a “long-standing Democratic operative” and a “hack reporter” whose account “sounds rather exaggerated.” The piece also asserted, “The clip would perhaps be interesting if they didn’t manipulatively edit out their actual interaction with a blatant jump cut in the middle.” From the May 25 post:

Far-left liberal journalist Ben Jacobs was reportedly “body slammed” on Wednesday by GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte on the eve of Montana’s special election to decide who will succeed Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke.

Jacobs is a long-standing Democratic operative, as Chuck Johnson exposed last year.

[...]

The clip would perhaps be interesting if they didn’t manipulatively edit out their actual interaction with a blatant jump cut in the middle.

Regardless, the same hack reporter attacked Gianforte from the right by asking him why he only reluctantly supported Donald Trump. Gianforte was noticeably angry.

[...]

Fox News journalists witnessed the body slamming[.]

[...]

Sounds rather exaggerated. [Infowars, 5/25/17]

GotNews: Jacobs is “a former minion for the Iowa Democratic Party” with “a history of opposing his political opponents’ freedom of speech.” GotNews alleged that Jacobs is “a former minion for the Iowa Democratic Party now operating as a Guardian reporter” who has “a history of opposing his political opponents’ freedom of speech.” From the May 24 post:

A former minion for the Iowa Democratic Party now operating as a Guardian reporter, Ben Jacobs, assaulted Montana Republican House candidate Greg Gianforte on Wednesday. Jacobs has a history of opposing his political opponents’ freedom of speech, as GotNews reported in October. [Got News, 5/24/17]

Media Research Center's Brent Bozell: "Jacobs is an obnoxious, dishonest first class jerk. I'm not surprised he got smacked."

[Twitter, 5/25/17]

NewsBusters’ Tim Graham: “Let’s ask why on Earth a House candidate in Montana should have to answer questions from a reporter for a BRITISH newspaper????”

[Twitter, 5/24/17]

Laura Ingraham: “Politicians always need to keep their cool. But what would most Montana men do if ‘body slammed’ for no reason by another man?”

[Twitter, 5/24/17, 5/24/17]

Professional troll Mike Cernovich: “Has Ben Jacobs ever disavowed political violence by the left? If not, why does media suddenly care?”

[Twitter, 5/24/17]

Fox & Friends repeated Gianforte’s claim that “the men both fell.” Fox & Friends’ Jillian Mele reported on the assault by neglecting the witness accounts, one of which was reported by Fox News’ own reporter Alicia Acuna, and repeating Gianforte’s claim that “the men both fell.” From the May 25 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

JILLIAN MELE: Hours before the polls open in the Montana special election, a GOP congressional candidate is charged with assault. Greg Gianforte defending himself after he's accused of body-slamming a Guardian reporter. The candidate says that reporter tried to push a phone in his face before this happened.

[...]

MELE: Quite a scene. Gianforte's campaign says the men both fell. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/25/17; FoxNews.com, 5/24/17]

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, Infowars
Person
Laura Ingraham, Derek Hunter, Tim Murphy, Mike Cernovich, L. Brent Bozell
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
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