This truly one of the most disturbing stories in a long time.
Montana Republican congressman-elect, Greg Gianforte, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault charges after he attacked a reporter.
That reporter is Ben Jacobs, who works for the Guardian. According to Mother Jones, “Gianforte attacked Ben Jacobs last month on the eve of a closely watched special election after Jacobs attempted to question him about the controversial Obamacare repeal bill passed by House Republicans.”
Gianforte was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counseling, along with a $385 fines and fees. The judge had considered a four-day prison sentence, to boot, but suspended the sentence.
— Whitney Bermes (@wabermes) June 12, 2017
In a separate civil case settlement, Gianforte agreed to pay $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
In a statement Gianforte offered the following, “Although it was not my intention to hurt him, I understand Ben was injured,” adding directly to Jacobs, “I acknowledge that the media have an obligation to seek information. I had no right to respond the way I did to your legitimate question about healthcare policy. You were doing your job.”
According to CNN:
The encounter happened on May 24, when Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assaultafter Jacobs accused the politician of “body slamming” him at a campaign event.
Gianforte, a Republican, won the election the next day and apologized to the reporter during his acceptance speech.
He also issued a letter to Jacobs last week.
“My physical response to your legitimate question was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unlawful,” Gianforte said in the letter.
“I made a mistake and humbly ask for your forgiveness.”
Just remember, folks, the primary role of the the press in our nation is to hold our leaders accountable. The process most certainly isn’t perfect – not by any stretch of the imagination – but we now have Republicans who are literally beating the shit out of reporters. And then they get elected…
If you think there aren’t consequences to the move away from the free press – a fundamental pillar of our Democratic-Republic – they think again. The rise of a dictatorship begins by silencing the press.
Help us spread this story like wildfire – America MUST know…