A GOP Candidate Wins A House Seat In Montana Despite Attacking A Reporter The Night Before The Election. What’s Going On Here?

Yesterday, in an Ethics Alarms post pointing out that nobody should vote a person who physically attacks reporters, or indeed, who attacks anybody, into Congress, I wrote,

What kind of person would vote for Gianforte after last night’s display? The kind of person who argues that character doesn’t matter in elected officials, only their positions.

And idiots, of course.

Candidate/Thug Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate, won the election nonetheless with over 50% of the votes. Rob Quist, the Democrat, received only 44%. Does this mean that over 50% of Montana voters are idiots? No, that wouldn’t be a fair conclusion. An estimated 60% of voters had turned in their ballots already, so the Gianforte voters in that batch weren’t necessarily idiots. (As I implied in the post yesterday, the advocates for voting before election day, thus allowing late-arriving information about the candidates—as in, “Hey! This guy is an unstable, volatile jerk with the judgment of a bar room goon!” to have minimal effect on  election results, have embraced an irresponsible, idiotic even, policy.)

Gianforte’s victory illuminate  other ethics issues, hwoever:

1. Addressing supporters in his victory speech, Gianforte apologized to the reporter he body-slammed, the journalists who witnessed the attack, and Montanans, saying “When you make a mistake you have to own up to it. That’s the Montana way.”

Ugh, yecchh, gag, petui!

If that’s the Montana way, why did Gianforte sit back and allow his campaign to blame the episode on the reporter? Remember, the statement from Gianforte’s staff, which is to say Gianforte,  said that the reporter,

“entered the [campaign] office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions….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.”

That isn’t owning up. That’s covering up, spinning and lying. Does the new Congressman’s apology mean that he acknowledges that his campaign was lying? When will he own up to that?  An apology now is cheap, cynical and meaningless, for Gianforte won, and Montana is stuck with him for two years.

2. A Montana TV station refused to inform its viewers that Gianforte had assaulted and battered a reporter. NBC affiliate KECI, recently purchased by the conservative media conglomerate Sinclair Broadcasting, adamantly kept the report of the attack and the audio of the incident,  arguing that “The person that tweeted [Jacobs] and was allegedly body slammed is a reporter for a politically biased publication.”  That “biased publication” was the Guardian, and the tweeter was Ben Jacobs, the victim. His account was confirmed by reporters from Fox News…you know, that liberal network that is always trying to make Republicans look bad. The anchor of the evening newscast, Laurel Staples, read a statement that said, in part, “NBC Montana takes pride in reporting only verifiable facts from an independent, reliable sources.”

 NBC News, including the Today show and affiliates across the country, played the audio of the altercation between Jacobs and Gianforte, who was charged with misdemeanor assault, indicating that reports of the episode were reliable.

3. This may partially explain why assaulting a reporter isn’t viewed by much of the public as a great offense, or even unreasonable. What KECI did, breaching its duty to report te news objectively and fairly, is done by the mainstream media routinely, except to usually in the service of  Democrats.On Wednesday, investigative news site Circa News revealed evidence of  illegal spying during the Obama years. Only Fox News and a handful of conservative websites reported the story.  ABC, CBS, and NBC omitted the story from their evening broadcasts, and the Washington Post, the New York Times, and most mainstream media outlet have kept their readers in the dark as well, concentrating instead on rumors, anonymous “reports” and  innuendo that they can use to imply that the President has committed impeachable offenses, somehow.

Circa reported that “the National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall.” More than one in 20 internet searches conducted by the National Security Agency, involving Americans, during the Obama administration violated constitutional privacy protections, and the practice went on  for years. the Obama administration was reprimanded by the FISA court as a result. As Fox Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen put it:

“On the day President Obama visited Los Angeles last October to yuk it up with Jimmy Kimmel, lawyers for the National Security Agency were quietly informing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that NSA had systematically violated the rights of countless Americans….Declassified documents, first obtained by the news site Circa, show the FISA court sharply rebuked the administration.With greater frequency than previously disclosed to the Court, NSA analysts had used U.S. person identifiers to query the results of internet ‘upstream’ collection, even though NSA’s Section 702 minimization procedures prohibited such queries.The documents show it was back in 2011 that the FISA court first determined NSA’s procedures to be, quote, “statutorily and constitutionally deficient with respect to their protection of U.S. person information.” Five years later, two weeks before Election Day, the judges learned that NSA had never adequately enacted the changes it had promised to make. The NSA inspector general and its office of compliance for operations “have been conducting other reviews covering different time periods,” the judges noted, “with preliminary results suggesting that the problem is widespread during all periods of review.”

Commentary points out,

This is no small matter. In January, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Loretta Lynch approved of new rules for the NSA that would further loosen standards regarding what raw intelligence data it was allowed to share with the rest of the intelligence and law-enforcement community. At the time, privacy advocates demanded the administration rein in the powers of the presidency if only to box in Trump. Not only did the Obama administration do precisely the opposite, “former Obama administration officials” bragged to reporters about the obvious trail of intelligence gleaned from foreign intercepts they left behind for anyone interested in investigating the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.

Never mind. The mainstream media can’t make Trump look bad if it suddenly starts exposing the abuses of the Obama administration, and besides, it was too busy to let the public know about “a serious Fourth Amendment breach” by the Obama Administration. After all, breaking news from Europe was that President Trump rudely pushed through to the front of the NATO leaders group, unsettling the President of Montenegro.

Gradually the public is catching on to this betrayal by the press. The news media isn’t doing journalism. The news media wants to assist “the resistance,” that is Democrats, progressives, and by her own admission, Hillary Clinton, in overturning the election by any means necessary. Astoundingly, journalists don’t see what they are doing to their credibility, democracy, and the institution of journalism. It is indeed acting as an “enemy of the people,” as the President diplomatically tweeted.

People tend not to like their enemies, nor feel especially sympathetic when they are abused. I object to the abuse, but then I have to; I’m an ethicist, after all. It’s my job.

Just as social justice warriors think that it is righteous to punch Nazis in the face, some who believe in American institutions, elections and democracy may think it’s  justifiable to body-slam a journalist.

4. The relentless narrative being pushed by the mainstream media is that Trump has doomed the Republicans to losing both houses of Congress, and that Democrats are ascendant. Oddly, all three special elections that were supposed to be harbingers of this wonderful wave rejecting the President and his party resulted in Republican victories, the last despite the fact that the GOP candidate assaulted a reporter the night before the vote. Again, the news media is peddling partisan narratives rather than facts. I particularly enjoyed the Axios article called “Democrats making major headway in special election losses,”  in which the author rejoices because Democrats aren’t losing by as much as they did in November. This is how you spin to keep a false narrative going. I have followed baseball for decades, and I can never recall a sportswriter ever penning commentary about a losing team that said it was making “major headway” because it was losing by less lopsided scores.

Why is this? Because it is obviously a pathetic, desperate, intellectually dishonest argument.

66 thoughts on “A GOP Candidate Wins A House Seat In Montana Despite Attacking A Reporter The Night Before The Election. What’s Going On Here?

  1. At a minimum is means that those who cast their votes for Gianforte after the incident have adopted the Cold Civil War paradigm of politics that was declared by the Left about a decade and a half ago.

    On #4: it’s not that the democrats are ascendant as much as the Republicans are betraying every last campaign promise they made and are descending.

  2. The Democratic Part should make a special note in their play book that the population is so damned pissed off at what they have been doing for years that they will knowingly put someone like this in office.

    Is this an extreme political example of the Julie Principle?

    • ”Is this an extreme political example of the Julie Principle?”

      Hmm; perhaps more like Peter Finch’s Howard Beale in “Network”

      “(We’re) mad as hell, and (we’re) not going to take it anymore!”

        • CRAP; I just looked at the schedule and their opening for Queensrÿche and I have family plans that prevent me from being there at 5, RATS!

          🙂 for family plans, 😦 for missing the show!

        • Careful, you don’t want to set off slickwilly, et al, who maintain that the BEST brats come from the Texas Hill Country north of San Antone ’round New Braunfels & Kerrville, and NOT from Johnsonville or Chuboygan (sic) Falls.

          “I get to go watch a friends band play!”

          You’re friends with THE George Clinton of the P-Funk All Stars??

                • Are you just trying to pick a fight, Z? 🙂

                  Anyone can buy bad brats from a scummy fake vendor. They are made all over, hoping to make a quick buck (but no repeat sales.)

                  Don’t buy off-brand brats! One must educate one’s self in what brats are the real deal! This can take great amounts of field research, attending any number of parties, festivals, carnivals, county fairs, and (of course) Oktoberfest!

                  Kind of like tortillas made in, say, Maryland being sold in San Antonio: not going to pass muster.

                  • slickwilly asked, “Are you just trying to pick a fight, Z?”

                    Naaaaaa… just jerking your chain.

                    The brats we had at my brothers place were just plain terrible, they were locally made brats from somewhere around the Plano area, someone recommended them to him, and it was his first time trying them. I’m sure there are better brats elsewhere in the area.

                    I do know that brats in areas like Southern Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi are made vastly differently than what you see in northern states where there are real German roots to the sausage making. I didn’t know what a “real” brat was until I moved to Wisconsin from down south – big difference. There are geographical specialty foods all over; I’ve had Bergo in three different southern states and it’s WIDLEY different depending on the area.

                    • Try Slovacek or Opa brands.

                      Slovacek is actually Czech, but the recipe is German. I grew up with this family (before they sold out and went national); they also owned the local country store and sold from a real old fashioned meat counter.

                      Opa is from Fredricksburg, Tx, and is the real deal.

                      You could visit the 120 year old stone building general store (post office, farm implements, ranch clothes, you name it) in Bergheim, Tx (same family the whole time) to get the real deal (best dry sausage around, even has venison dry sausage, but they will not ship. 🙂

                    • How did this thread get derailed into a discussion of the merits of brats? Now, I am hungry and not a drop of spicy mustard within five miles. Thanks. Thanks a whole lot. Sheesh.


            • “Must have been on sale!”

              Wesconsin brat aficionados get their brats where they’re “for sale,” not “on sale!”

              “Can We All Just Get Along?”

              Sure we can, common ground: dress the BRAT, not the BUN!

              Stone ground mustard, fresh kraut, diced onions, and a LOT of beer.

              Have a great Memorial Day weekend, I’ll hoist one for you; heck, probably one each for your entire extended family & their neighbors…

                • Agreed: You have never heard someone utter this expression: “Beer spoils the taste of the bratswurst” It is heresy per se, the punishment for which is shunning on the first offense, banishment for the second and final offense.


                  • Beer-n-Brats go together like Hope-n-Crosby, white-on-rice, & spots-on-dice.

                    Youse guys showing both an inestimable passion and a steadfast refusal to compromise regarding two of the major food groups of America’s Dairyland brings gosh dang tears to my eyes.

                    Or is that the onions I minced?

                    Here’s to youses; Prost!

    • Now, how can we be expected to worry about our privacy being violated when we get up-to-date information on when and where the President and his wife hold hands?

    • A first term congressman? They’ll be kind enough to allow him a desk and chair and if he raises his hand and asks politely, he’ll be allowed to use the bathroom. If he doesn’t ask politely he’ll get to use a bucket.

  3. Where is the video? GOP not showing it because of bad optics (it shows the scuffle) and Democrats not because? Maybe the story is not what was reported? Fox reporter walking her story back leads me to believe there was video, and she wanted the attention she got for the dramatic description (exaggeration?) but now needs cover… speculation, I know.

    Not that this makes WHATEVER the Rep did okay: it just is strange that the video is under wraps. This doofus is acting like he ran as a candidate for the wrong party. Usually the GOP eats their own when they are guilty, but not this time…

    I could be wrong. Maybe there is not video. Maybe the ‘honorable’ gentleman from Montana will not be seated in Congress, voted unfit for office by his peers (Ha!)

    Maybe voters know that the Democrats have done this and worse over the past two decades, and “what difference does it make?”

    Maybe this is the voter and alt-right reaction I have been predicting: tit-for-tat, win at any cost, and use the progressives tactics against them.

    And God help us.

  4. “(As I implied in the post yesterday, the advocates for voting before election day, thus allowing late-arriving information about the candidates—as in, “Hey! This guy is an unstable, volatile jerk with the judgment of a bar room goon!” to have minimal effect on election results, have embraced an irresponsible, idiotic even, policy.)”

    Isn’t there always a risk that damning information will come out about a candidate “too late”? It would seem the reverse argument could be made that it’s irresponsible NOT to allow a pre-determined “grace period” during which ballots may still be cast, on that off chance something horrible was revealed after election day?

    Does the same apply to absentee ballots?

    • Because, having a single day to vote reduces the “oh crap I can’t change my vote, but he still isn’t selected” window to nothing.

      At some point, yes, a person IS elected and we bear the post-election burden of any discovered bad sides…the entire period before hand should be geared towards aiding in that selection.

      Early voting creates a window in which very bad characteristics can be discovered before the General Election is finalized, but my Specific Election is already finalized. It’s better that my personal choice occur at almost the exact same moment (Day in this case) as everyone else’s personal choice, so we call go into the finalization process with the same information.

      That’s only ONE of the pro’s of a single Election Day and no early voting.

      Minimization of Fraud is another.
      Reinforcing the community focus is yet another.

      • To expand on this: if we ever begin to rebuild the civil society, one question to answer is, “What does a voter owe to the rest of the electorate?” The answer, I think, is that you have to approach the campaign season with a willingness to be persuaded to vote for any candidate. You obviously aren’t doing that if you cast your vote before the campaign is over.

        • LoSonnamblo,

          I do not understand your stance. Respectfully, you believe a responsible citizen cannot know the political platforms well enough to decide your vote well before the election?

          I knew I was not voting Democrat in 2016 the minute election season started. I pay attention, and did not want Obama’s ‘third term.’ It really did not matter who ran on the other side: I would have written in Kinky Friedman (google him) if the other candidate was that unacceptable (I almost did with Mitt Romney.)

          You seem to suggest that the responsible citizen should be susceptible to dirty last minute tricks, and stampeded into voting a certain way. Given the regular ‘October Surprises’ presidential elections now come with (and all trumped up BS by progressives) this seems a bit shallow. This last time ALL these women said Trump sexually harassed them, and where are they now? Short of killing their opponent on live TV, I mean.

          I would like to understand what it is about an unproven last minute revelation that should change an informed, responsible citizen’s vote.

          • I don’t think that someone has to accept any specific piece of information as determining his or her vote. I think that you do have to listen to the arguments that the candidates make, and decide which of them has the better (or less worse) argument. This, of course, recognizes that you also have to judge whether the argument is sincere or not, and whether the person can be effective in office. Again, that’s something that can become clearer through the course of a campaign.

          • I think this is worth investigating in a post, Jack. I really do not understand, as I have explained above.

            What am I missing? Is is simply unethical to choose before the day of the vote? If so, why?

            • Surely if your mind is made up and nothing can change it, if, like one of my friends, you believe that nothing short of Hillary Clinton running around DC biting people would cause you not to vote for her, then it makes no difference when you vote. What is unethical is deciding who to vote for like that. Everything up until election day is part of the input a responsible voter is obligated to consider. That means arguments, discussions, pundit analysis, and new data. Cutting your self off from new and possibly decisive data in making a decision that effects your country and neighbors is per se irresponsible.

              Tex’s comment above is also persuasive.

      • I apologize for the confusion, but I was seeking clarification from the moderator (if he/she has time). Thank you.

  5. If you didn’t want a Berniecrat as Montana’s sole member of Congress, for whom were you supposed to vote?

  6. Not being able to see the actual video of the event, I’m guessing that Gianforte either has a very short fuse or was having a very bad day. From what I can tell, the reporter was acting like an aggressive paparazzi and as we know Hollywood celebrities frequently punch these guys out. It’s a different matter for a Congressman and inexcusable!!

  7. This incident was followed by a last minute influx of cash to the winner’s campaign fund, some $55,000.

    Make of that what you will.

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