|Republican Greg Gianfonte, in a special Montana Congressional|
election today, is accused of assaulting a reporter Wednesday
evening. Will that help or hurt him?
He's up for a special Congressional election today against Democrat Rob Quist in a closely watched race.
Of course the reason all the talking today is going on is because Gianforte assaulted a reporter who fairly aggressively questioned him about the Republican repeal and replace of Obamacare, which would kick 23 million people off health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Yep, Gianforte is charged with misdemeanor assault for body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before the election.
Many people rightly condemned the assault. Montana newspapers withdrew their endorsements of Gianforte. Many people are now hoping he loses the election, which had been tightening anyway due to revulsion over some Republican proposals.
If Gianforte loses, that would be something, as his Congressional district is normally reliably Republican.
Don't count on him losing, though.
There's a large subset of the worst of the Republican base who are thrilled that Gianforte punched a so-called obnoxious reporter, especially one from the left-leaning Guardian.
Gianforte's macho moves might lead hard-core Republicans to come out and vote for him in droves today.
After all, the Trump campaign and his administration has made literally bashing journalists - not just criticiziing them - a popular move among the Republican wacko caucus.
As CNN notes:
"Senior Huffington Post media reporter Michael Calderone pointed to the arrest earlier this month of a West Virginia reporter who shouted questios about health care reform at Health Secretary Tom Price and the manhandling by security gaurds of a Washington reporter at the Federal Communications Commisson headquarters."
All this led Modern Family Executive Produer Danny Zuker to tweet, "It's a sad fact that in this climate I have no idea if assaulting a reporter hurts Gianforte or helps him."
That is sad.
But people really are applauding the assault. Brent Bozell, the president of the conservative Media Research Center, tweeted, "Jacobs is an obnoxious, dishonest first classs jerk. I'm not surprised he got smacked."
If Jacobs is an obnoxious, dishonest first class jerk, does that justify assaulting him? To Bozell, the answer is yes.
Of course, Bozell might still have sour grapes because Jacobs broke a story about suspicious financial dealings by the Media Research Center.
Reports from Montana polling places this morning are not encouraging. CNN National Correspondent Kyung Lah offered the following tweets from Montana this morning:
"MT GOP voter to me just now, knowing I work for @CNN. 'That audio made me cheer.' She smiled as she walked in to vote for Gianforte."
"MT GOP voter, upon learning we're from @CNN: 'You're lucky soeone doesn't pop one of you.'"
By the way, Jacobs also got Gianforte pissed off in another respect
The assaulted reporter - Ben Jacobs - had previously broken a story about Gianforte's investments in Russian companies and we all know how controversial that type of thing is under the Trump administration.
It was telling that Gianforte's statement after the assault blamed Jacobs, saying he was a liberal reporter being aggressive. I guess that's grounds for body slamming, I guess.
Also, how can anyone run for office if they can't stand reporters asking tough questions and shoving tape recorders in their faces? That's what life is like for all politicians, liberal and conservative.
Today's election in Montana has turned into a referendum on which is better: Civility, or the natios continued decline into an acceptance of mob "justice" or the rule of law.