Montana elected its newest U.S. House representative during a special election.
And what a special election it was.
The biggest takeaway is perhaps Donald Trump’s claim that the media is the “enemy of the state” is being taken to serious, physical new levels of hostility.
Republican Greg Gianforte was accused of assaulting a Guardian reporter, allegedly grabbing him by the neck and slamming him to the ground. The next day he hid in privacy, refusing to issue an apology at the request of top officials and only came out after his victory was announced to say he “made a mistake.”
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Now, he is celebrating and mapping out his path to D.C. And it doesn’t look like there are any roadblocks on the way despite that fact he is facing a misdemeanor assault charge.
While hostility toward reporters and the media in general is not a new thing, it has exploded under the leadership of Trump.
We’ve seen the corralling of reporters into pen-like areas at campaign rallies, name calling and vilification of individual reporters to the point some feared for their safety, constant Twitter attacks and even Trump’s own campaign manager being arrested for battery charges against a reporter.
Trump has turned the media into something to hate, diminish and now, physically attack.
We do not approach this in a selfish manner, whining that we are being picked on by the president. The media is accustomed to such verbal attacks, but the public should be wary of this animosity – which is now turning violent – toward the media, as without a free press, democracy will suffer.