Patterico's Pontifications

5/24/2017

Reporter For The Guardian Alleges He Was Body Slammed By GOP Running For Montana House Seat (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Late this afternoon, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted that he had been “body slammed” by Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate running for Montana’s House seat in tomorrow’s special election:

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Audio of the incident was provided to the Guardian:

From the report:

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire running for the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin County sheriff’s office is investigating.

Shane Scanolon, spokesman for Gianforte’s campaign, released this statement:

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Here is a clearer version of Scanlon’s statement:

“Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions,” Scanlon said. “Jacobs was asked to leave. 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.”

A BuzzFeed News reporter in the immediate vicinity of where the incident took place, was able, at least in part, to confirm Jacobs’ account:

Jacobs’s account was partially confirmed by BuzzFeed News reporter Alexis Levinson, who wrote on Twitter that she had been in an adjacent room during the incident.

“This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn’t see it all, but here’s what it looked like from the outside – Ben walked into a room where a local tv crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte. All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor. Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) – sounded like Gianforte…”

She later tweeted:

[B]efore the incident, she overheard Gianforte’s staff telling Jacobs that the campaign was upset with the Guardian’s previous reporting and that the candidate would likely not have time to talk to him. Jacobs then entered the side room to try to talk to Gianforte.

Fox News is reporting a firsthand eyewitness account of the incident by veteran Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, who was there with field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey to interview Gianforte:

As the time for the interview neared, Gianforte came into the room. We exchanged pleasantries and made small talk about restaurants and Bozeman.

During that conversation, 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 if 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 also confirms that at no time did Jacobs “show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”

You can watch the Montana Sheriff’s office address the matter here. Due to it being an active investigation, the Sheriff’s office spokesman provided little information other than deputies responded to an allegation of an assault, they interviewed Gianforte and other individuals present in the room at the time. No confirmation as to whether charges will be filed. Also, no comment on whether this will have any impact on the special election. There is also no evidence or knowledge about video of the incident.

According to Dave Weigel, supporters for Gianforte’s opponent in the race, Democrat Rob Quist, are now playing audio for voters as they canvas the area. I just bet they are.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

UPDATE: Greg Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault.

Today’s CBO Report

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Fresh post needed, so very pressed for time…

Today the Congressional Budget Office released an updated score for the American Health Care Act, which I believe very few on the right are really happy about as it is nowhere near the promised full-repeal of Obamacare. However, if you read big media outlets, the CBO news is not just bad – it’s dire. That’s because everyone from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Business Insider to NPR to the New York Times to the Washington Post are focused on a specific claim that the plan would leave an additional 23 million people uninsured.

Over at the Daily Wire, readers are provided with a bit of clarification about the 23 million number being bandied about, as well as offering some good news in the midst of the bad.

First off, it’s important to know that the CBO is measuring its estimated number of insured against the flawed March 2016 estimates; as Phil Kerpen points out, the CBO itself “acknowledged” that they were off by 5 million people in that estimate.

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It’s also worthwhile noting here that the number of uninsured would grow because most people would stop buying insurance without the threat of government fine; the study also considers those who buy certain types of catastrophic insurance “uninsured.” Still, the CBO estimates that by 2026, “an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured.”

A little good news:

The AHCA Would Lower The Deficit. According to the CBO:

[O]ver the 2017-2026 period, enacting H.R. 1628 would reduce direct spending by $1,111 billion and reduce revenues by $992 billion, for a net reduction of $119 billion in the deficit over that period. The provisions dealing with health insurance coverage would reduce the deficit, on net, by $783 billion; the noncoverage provisions would increase the deficit by $664 billion, mostly by reducing revenues.

In short, the government would spend less money on Medicaid grants, but the spending to reduce premiums would count against those savings, as well as loss of revenue from fines (good) and repeal of taxes (also good).

Final thoughts:

[T]he bill is revenue neutral, so it can be passed through reconciliation. It gives both sides their talking points: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) is already touting the statement that premiums could drop and that it will save the government money; Democrats are already touting the drop in number covered as well as the possible effects on the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Not much has changed here. But both sides will now retrench politically as the Senate considers moving forward.

Read the whole thing here.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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