1. Punch drunk Gov
“We’re at a loss for words. And as people who wrangle words on a minute-by-minute basis, that doesn’t happen often.” That was the opening salvo from the Billings Gazette as the newspaper pulled its endorsement of GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte, who reportedly body slammed a reporter from The Guardian (and broke his glasses) on the eve of Montana’s special election. The incident swiftly spread across social media, and Ginaforte was cited for misdemeanor assault hours before the polls opened. It’s somewhat ironic that Gianforte “grabbed [Ben] Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground” after the reporter asked a question about healthcare coverage. This was the action of a single person in a city far from Washington, DC; and in general, the media is too quick to try to shoehorn entirely unrelated issues into a unified storyline. But in this case, the shoe fits. Donald Trump’s hands were nowhere near the Montana incident, but his fingerprints are all over it. The president has relentlessly attacked the press, helping to foment an anti-media fervor. The Montana incident is a natural outcome of Trump’s self-serving, anti-media crusade. And while this media-bashing strategy is reckless at home, the outcomes have undoubtedly been worse in other countries where reporters are in constant danger of suffering much worse than a pair of broken glasses at the hands of dictators and thugs who have been given the symbolic green light by what they hear coming out of the Oval Office.