Another Day, Another Dolor

When does it stop?  I mentioned earlier that reading and blogging about these daily outrages has become quite exhausting, and now the increasing abuse of journalists is in all the news, including the NYT and NPR this morning.  Ben Jacobs, grabbed by the neck and body-slammed to the floor by Montana GOP candidate Greg Gianforte for asking him a question about the Republican health plan.  And Gianforte still won the election!  John Donnelly, pinned against a wall by security men for trying to ask FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly a question.  Dan Heyman, jailed for shouting a question to HHS Secretary Tom Price about pre-existing conditions under the House healthcare bill.  Never seen a reporter shout a question, in a noisy room?  Journalists harassed by Trump supporters, shoved and punched, pepper-sprayed, verbally abused and arrested for doing their jobs.  Are we to accept this as normal now?  Well, Heyman did raise his voice…

There’s the well-known Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which works to protect First Amendment rights.  But, in the face of all this violence, reporters may need to be more concerned about protecting their Second Amendment rights.  That might seem self-evident when they are assigned to cover news in the heart of Trump Country, but apparently even government buildings in Washington DC can’t be considered safe zones for the press.  You can’t blame one person for the entire toxic environment, but our Chaos President has been blowing mightily on that dog whistle, for example calling the press the “enemy of the people,” and there has been a trickle-down effect.  Under Trump, the range of options that pop into the minds of erstwhile public servants when approached by a journalist has widened to include physical assault.

By the way, I was gratified to hear that, as a sort of olive branch to the press, the White House is looking for flight attendants to take special care of the Press Corps aboard Air Force One.  A long process, but why drag it out:  can’t United Airlines spare a few?


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