Gianforte’s Lie About His Assault Is Just As Bad As The Assault Itself
As bad as Greg Gianforte’s criminal assault of a reporter for merely asking a question at a public event was, the statement put out by his campaign after the attack is perhaps even worse and the perfect metaphor for the Republican party writ large. That statement was a bold-faced, provable lie and the campaign knew it when they put it out. But the gist was clear, that Gianforte’s behavior was OK because of who the victim was.
Gianforte’s assault is part of the continuing attack on the First Amendment rights of the free press that has been an undercurrent of GOP politics for decades but has recently come out in the open under the Trump administration. In West Virginia, a reporter was arrested simply for asking a question of Tom Price in the public space in the West Virginia Capitol. In addition, another reporter was stalked, manhandled, and kept from asking questions by security guards at an FCC press conference. And that is on top of Trump’s continually prohibiting the US press from attending some his public events, most particularly his meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak where even the Russian press was allowed.
More disturbing, to me at least, was the statement that Gianforte’s campaign put out in the immediate aftermath of the event:
The campaign absolutely knew that virtually every sentence in this statement would be proven to be a lie. There were multiple witnesses to event who subsequently gave statements to police that showed that Jacobs was not being aggressive, that the interview was taking place at a public event, that Gianforte attacked Jacobs without provocation, body-slammed him, and then started punching Jacobs while Jacobs was on the ground with Gianforte on top of him.
But for Gianforte, the lie was just a convenient vehicle to promote the less than subtle message to his voters that Jacobs, as a member of the liberal press, deserved what Gianforte gave him. And it did so knowing that their tribal supporters, with some help from a large segment of the media, would never call them on its brazen lies.
This is the same mentality that allows the GOP to lie about covering pre-existing conditions and forcing over 20 million Americans to lose health insurance in order to give the rich and business a $1 trillion tax cut. For their base, those 20 million don’t deserve health care to begin with. It allows Tom Price to say that people with disabilities, on welfare, or with pre-existing conditions are less deserving than his base of taxpayers. It allows Trump to try and institute an unconstitutional Muslim ban (which was just upheld by 4th Circuit as such) because they are not deserving. It allows Ben Carson to call poverty a “state of mind”. It allows Fox News to perpetuate continual lies such as the Seth Rich murder fabrication. And it allows current members of the House to blame this on “tension” created by the “left” and who will welcome Gianforte into their caucus with open arms if he wins.
It reflects a party that refuses to represent all their constituents and instead only represents the empowerment of their party and the minority of Americans that make up its base. It reflects a party that has lost total interest in any semblance of democracy and is only interested in the maintenance and expression of its own power.
Originally published at tidalsoundings.blogspot.com on May 25, 2017.