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The recent flap regarding Mr. Gianforte and the Guardian’s reporter, Ben Jacobs, exposes an unsettling trend in modern "journalism." Mr. Gianforte’s reaction has been described in the press as a "physical attack" or an "assault."

As I understand the initial reports of the incident on May 24th, Mr. Gianforte was in a private meeting in his campaign office when reporter Jacobs barged in and thrust a recorder into his face. Jacobs reportedly asked a question and was told that it would be discussed Later. He (Jacobs) continued to push the recorder and demanded an immediate response; at that point the altercation ensued. The press is almost universally describing the altercation as only Gianforte’s fault. What if he was only pushing Jacob’s recorder away and they tangled up? Where is the accountability of journalists to be civil and respectful?

May 29th’s article exposes media’s arrogance: Lesley Clark (McClatchly Newspapers) states, “Mr. Gianforte will find himself with a recorder in his face pretty much all the time ...unless he is in his own office.” I guess Mr. Jacobs doesn’t share the latter part of that view.

Sadly, In Your Face journalism is the norm. I suppose it is unreasonable to expect reporters and editors to change, but it sure would be a nice start.

Bill Heinecke



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