Montana Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte’s alleged “bodyslam” of a liberal reporter is coming under scrutiny, as competing eyewitness accounts paint two very different pictures of what actually transpired.
Businessman Gianforte holds a double-digit lead in Thursday’s special election in Montana’s only U.S. House district, outpacing cowboy hat-wearing Democrat Rob Quist. Gianforte has the support of Don Trump Jr. and Trump supporters nationwide.
Gianforte was given a citation for misdemeanor assault after a Wednesday night incident at a Bozeman campaign rally. Gianforte scuffled with left-wing Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, resulting in Jacobs allegedly breaking his glasses. But who started the scuffle, and how did it go down?
According to Jacobs:
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) May 24, 2017
According to the Gianforte campaign’s statement:
“Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushed them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”
Jacobs claimed that local TV station personnel witnessed the event, but so far no video has emerged of the incident. Rather, an alleged audiotape of the incident has come out, promoted by Jacobs.
In the audio, Gianforte repeatedly refers to an action by Jacobs, saying, “The last guy did the same damn thing.” It is unclear what Jacobs did to Gianforte, and the muffled sounds do not indicate which party started the fracas:
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) May 25, 2017
Alicia Acuna, a general assignment reporter in the Fox News Denver bureau, offered an eyewitness account that was more violent than Jacobs’ version, and included “punching” that was not referenced by Jacobs on the audiotape.
According to Acuna’s tale: “At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!” Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken.”
But another reputed eyewitness tells a completely different story, refuting both Acuna and Jacobs. Montana dentist Christie says that there was no bodyslam, and “they both fell,” which would confirm Gianforte’s account of events.
Christie has locked her Twitter account due to media requests, but her extensive account of events, which she also gave to police, is still publicly displayed.
“Jacobs was putting mic/phone in Greg’s face Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist and they both fell over,” Christie reported. “Yes, he was angry bc of the aggression, but they both fell to the ground…no body slam.”
“you only heard a portion of the audio…he was being very aggressive and grabbed Greg’s wrist… they both fell,” Christie said. “That’s what happened, I was there. Ben grabbed Greg’s wrist and they both fell to the ground.”
Mainstream media outlets have been largely ignoring Christie’s eyewitness report in favor of the account of liberal Buzzfeed reporter Alexis Levinson whose view, characteristically, was a bit skewed:
This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn't see it all, but here's what it looked like from the outside –
— Alexis Levinson (@alexis_levinson) May 24, 2017
All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben's feet fly in the air as he hit the floor
— Alexis Levinson (@alexis_levinson) May 24, 2017
“Alexis Levinson is a liar for hire,” says Noel Fritsch, a political operative who encountered Levinson’s reporting in a Mississippi Senate race. “She ran absurd stories and straight up lied.”
Others who know Jacobs, and his reputation, are hesitant to believe anything he says.
GotNews editor Charles C. Johnson said that Jacobs “has a history of fabrication in his reporting. I trust Gianforte in this story.” Johnson added that people are asking him to set up a legal defense fund for Gianforte.
Jacobs forcefully pushed the March 2016 Michelle Fields hoax. Fields, a Breitbart reporter, spun a wild tale of being assaulted by Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, but her story did not hold up to scrutiny after video of the mundane incident was released. Fields, who resigned from Breitbart in disgrace, is now defending Jacobs on Twitter.
The mainstream media has rushed to Jacobs’ defense, pointing out his meek, non-aggressive nature and diminutive physical stature. Various male and female journalists have gone out of their way to label Jacobs essentially harmless, including one New York Times reporter who described what Jacobs looks like “soaking wet.”
Just FYI: Ben is not an aggressive guy. He is a superb and respectful journalist. https://t.co/wjGhrglJrt
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) May 24, 2017
@Bencjacobs is a great reporter and he's about 100 pounds soaking wet.
Just for context when a candidate suggests Ben was "aggressive."
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) May 25, 2017
But while journalists coalesce around the purported victim, many conservatives and Montanans are finding themselves amused, even inspired, by the candidate’s bodyslam. This incident could be just the boost Gianforte needed to galvanize his supporters and put himself over the top.
Stopped for gas & snacks en route to Bozeman and told a clerk about Gianforte allegations. Her response: "my kind of politician."
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) May 25, 2017
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President Trump Rejects Paying For Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Private Security
The royal celebrities will foot the bill.
President Trump made it clear on a Sunday tweet that British royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would have to pay for their own security costs upon moving full-time to the United States, clarifying that they wouldn’t receive federal security under an existing arrangement that covers British royals temporarily visiting the US.
I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
The royal celebrities have distanced themselves from the Queen, apparently viewing themselves as victims of relentless paparazzi and media attention.
Harry and Markle initially moved to Canada after resigning from the royal family, but they’ve recently moved to Hollywood just before the Canadian border was closed to nonessential travel due to the Chinese coronavirus epidemic. The elitist couple apparently plans on reinventing themselves as American-style celebrities, and have hired a small army of media consultants and public relations agents to market their image.
When information of their move to Los Angeles became public knowledge, many began to speculate if they’d recieve taxpayer-funded security in a manner akin to British royals visiting the United States on official state vists. President Trump’s Sunday tweet appears to eliminate that possibility.
The thirteen colonies that became the United States rebelled against the yoke of the British monarchy for a reason. President Trump’s decision to cut off the wannabee celebrities from publicly-funded security is a deeply American decision. The UK’s monarchy is one of the wealthiest legacy institutions in the western world, and it would be absurd to imagine that it can’t afford to hire private security for the ‘former’ royals, who are set to fully renounce their royal obligations at the end of the month.
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