In news that will likely shock few, Senator Jennifer Fielder boldly stepped out into Facebook today to blame Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs for being assaulted by Greg Gianforte. From the Senator:
Stand strong Greg! I would like to see an investigation into the “agitator training” leftist “journalists” receive. Good journalists are respectful, but I have noticed a definite trend in agitator tactics being used by liberal operatives acting as reporters. They intentionally try to blindside you, push a predetermined adversarial narrative, persist with badgering questions (often about material you havent even seen yet), rudely interupt and intrude into your personal space, and whatever else they can do to provoke a controversial response. Guess Ben Jacobs got more than he bargained for when he decided to tangle with Greg Gianforte, but obviously the initial media reports were not accurate.
Almost everything about that post is wrong. While Senator Fielder’s constitution only seems to have the 2nd and 10th amendments, the 1st absolutely guarantees the right of the press to pursue the truth. While a supporter of quasi-fascistic government control might view the act of asking a question about an important policy question as “agitator tactics,” the founding fathers Senator Fielder pretends to honor knew that the press absolutely had to be “adversarial.”
It’s also wrong to suggest that there was anything inaccurate in the initial media reports. If anything, Ben Jacobs understated what happened to him. The only thing that was not accurate was the statement issued by Greg Gianforte, which was contradicted both by eyewitness testimony and the audio.
Most salient, though, is the wrongheadedness of a member of the Legislature encouraging violence against anyone. When a reporter can’t ask a hard question without fear of physical reprisal, democracy suffers. When a candidate for office is so fragile and out of control that he responds to a question with an unprovoked attack, the institution of our government loses legitimacy. And when a candidate for office who attacks an innocent person is defended by those in power, we’re headed in the direction of the brownshirts.
Shame on you, Senator Fielder. Given your proclivity for reminding all of us what a good Christian you are, might I suggest reading the book you profess to believe in? It’s quite clear about both violence and dishonesty.