CNN’s Dylan Byers has analyzed the physical altercation that occurred during the Montana special congressional election between Republican candidate Greg Gianforte and The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs. Mr. Gianforte ran and won the vacant seat left by Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke, who became the secretary of the interior. On the eve of the election, Jacobs approached Mr. Gianforte asking him about the CBO score of the GOP health care plan. Mr. Gianforte body-slammed Jacobs, which was corroborated by a Fox News team that was present at the meet and greet event in Bozeman. While Mr. Gianforte won the race over Democrat Rob Quist, he still faces misdemeanor assault charges. It’s unknown if this event would have impacted the election. A substantial amount of ballots were already submitted, Mr. Gianforte had a health lead over Quist in the polls, and many just didn’t seem to care.
Byers added that there were some people who liked what Mr. Gianforte did, but others decided to ignore it since it came from the liberal media. He added that there’s a discussion on how to bring back that level of trust between voters and reporters. Byers also noted that conservatives have done a good job at exploiting the decreasing levels of trust conservative have with the media. At the same time, it’s not a one-way street. He did note that the news media has at times failed to tell the story of conservative Americans (via Mediaite) [emphasis mine]:
On occasion, more than the media would probably like to admit, we have not told the story of conservative Americans — disenfranchised Americans — who believe that they are losing their country…The story we have largely been telling is a story that is more or less in step with the arc of history as defined by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”
Byers added that this doesn’t resonate with conservative America and “no one exploited it as well as Donald Trump did; and no one made it as violent and aggressive and sinister as Donald Trump did.”
Okay—I wouldn’t have describe what President Trump did as sinister. And I think it’s a bit naïve to suggest that the media didn’t want Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to win. Of course, they did. The latter part does rehash what Byers said about the Montana incident, linking this incident to the anti-media rhetoric at Trump rallies. We may debate on whether this should be pinned on the president. Yet, I’ll always offer a hat tip to any reporter from the elite media who acknowledges that maybe they’re just ignoring rural America and how that’s a problem.
DYLAN BYERS: Look, I think the larger context that Jeff Toobin brought up here is an important one. There's so much anti-media rhetoric. There's such a feeling, certainly among conservatives, that the media is somehow the enemy of the American people —
DON LEMON: I wonder where they got that idea from, Dylan.
BYERS: — obviously espoused by the President of the United States.
LEMON: Here's what our colleague at a different organization wrote. It’s Matthew Dowd and he said: “When the president calls the press the enemy, hires thugs who man handles the press, befriends an authoritarian regimes, no wonder MT happened”, meaning Montana. What do you say? That’s where you were going with this.
BYERS: And is there a chance that Gianforte running 10 or 20 or 30 years ago may have done this, sure, of course there is. But we can't ignore the larger context. We can’t ignore the fact that civility and particularly civility between politicians, larger conservative Republican politicians, because of that sort of anti-mainstream media rhetoric, has sort of fueled a violent atmosphere. We saw it at the Trump campaign rallies. We’re seeing it here in Montana. There’s just a total absence of respect and sort of civility here.