Reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian newspaper was physically assaulted by Greg Gianforte, a Republican candidate running for Congress in Montana, according to an account by a Fox News Channel reporter who says she witnessed the altercation.
The reporter, Alice Acuna, writes on the Fox News website that she and two colleagues [Faith Mangan and Keith Railey] were preparing to interview Gianforte at his Bozeman, Montana, headquarters this afternoon.
As they engaged Gianforte in small talk before the interview, Acuna reports, “another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte’s face and began asking him if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.
“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 man, as he moved on top the reporter and 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. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. He then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.”
Acuna adds, “To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.”
Acuna also writes that Scanlon later issued a statement saying that Jacobs “entered the [campaign] office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions.
“Later, the statement added, ‘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, pushing 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 has also released the altercation as it was recorded on his tape recorder …