It took all of one day for those on the left to swing from lectures on not labeling an entire group as violent, to holding one man up as proof a group is violent. Following the Manchester bombing we were given the expected cant on not blaming Muslims, yet following a one-on-one altercation a sole politician became proof the entirety of the GOP promotes physical assault.
On Wednesday night GOP candidate for the House, representing Montana, Greg Gianforte launched himself into the national spotlight when he launched himself at a reporter. On the eve of the special election vote (which he eventually won) Gianforte got into a physical confrontation with Ben Jacobs, reporter from The Guardian.
The evolving story initially had Jacobs claiming Gianforte had “body–slammed” him, then it became a choking, then it was his grabbing the clothes and falling to the ground. It is rather revealing about the state of our contemporary media era that this incident can take place at an election event, in a room filled with journalists, and no cogent story can be made. Ultimately Gianforte was given a citation.
It is of little surprise that the reactionary media would leap to the chance to use this incident as some kind of proof of a violent pathology within the GOP. President Trump, despite being physically on the other side of the globe at the time, was said to be the cause of the Montana steel cage match. Joining the chorus of disdain was Jeff Ballou, President of The National Press Club.
- The president of the National Press Club, said that since Trump took office in January, there had scarcely been a day when he hadn’t had to deal with some serious challenge to members. “This is not Turkey, I get that; this is not North Korea, I get that, too. But the steady deterioration of atmosphere, of civility and common decency, of outright unconstitutional behavior towards journalists, is deeply worrying,” he said.
Now despite the claim of “outright unconstitutional behavior” no direct evidence of such is actually offered by Ballou. But the grievous tone of the Trump administration is of course attributed to this fracas. The media, of course, bears no responsibility to this combative environment. According to The Guardian:
- As details circulated of Wednesday’s incident, in which Greg Gianforte “body-slammed” the Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs to the ground after he was asked a routine policy question, commentators expressed bewilderment and concern about what they said amounted to an increasingly ugly climate in a country with a proud history of press freedom.
I asked a simple question of Jeff Ballou on Twitter: What is your position towards the various members of the press who openly championed for the death of President Trump? He responded by stating, “I don’t condone such statements. But first prove it with examples.”
It was just one week ago when Lauren Duca deleted this wish of Trump’s plane crash. I gave Ballou the following other examples — Steven Borowiec, LA Times; David Leavitt, Yahoo/CBS; Suzanne Malveaux, CNN; and Rupert Myers, Telegraph/GQ.
Ballou never provided a second step, following this list. While no one with a rational mindset supports Greg Gianforte losing control and resorting to violence with a reporter, it is a willing blind spot for the media to pretend they have not fostered this contentious atmosphere, engaging in the very animosity they claim is poisonous.
Noteworthy is how the week began with the media saying a bombing is not cause to group people together, but then when a lone politician lashes out it is held up as proof an entire party is culpable.