On the day of Montana’s special elections, Flathead community members react to Gianforte’s actions involving Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.
On May 24th, news broke from Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs’ Twitter that Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte reportedly body slammed him to the ground and broke his glasses.
We went out into the Flathead community to see what locals have to say about Gianforte and if his actions would sway their voting decision.
Whitefish local Dan Cumerford explains that while he doesn’t have the full story he believes that reporters in general are intrusive when interviewing. He tells us this incident between Gianforte and Jacobs might change how reporters act during interviews in the future.
Cumerford says, “Perhaps reporters will respect the people they’re interviewing, if this happened every now and again. They think they can get away with whatever they want, go where they want, trespass where they want, do whatever they want. And nothing will happen to them. They have to realize that things may happen to them.”
When we asked Cumerford if this incident swayed his voting decision he tells us this, “I voted for him (Gianforte). Driving in I heard what happened and I still voted for him.”
Then we ran into Dick Hensley who tells us that the altercation that happened between Gianforte and Jacobs was unfortunate.
Hensley explains, “Everything boiled at that moment and I think that Mr. Gianforte felt he was infringed upon, his time was infringed on and he was being harassed and so he retaliated. That still doesn’t make it right.”
Hensley tells us this news didn’t make a difference on his voting choice. Mr. Hensley would prefer to keep who he voted for private.
Steven Sladek who has lived in Whitefish for over twenty years echoes a very similar comment to Dan Cumerford.
Sladek explains, “Reporters tend to be pushy and no matter what anyone asks of them sometimes they get too much in a person’s face.”
Mr. Sladek continues, “I’m sure it wasn’t right for Gianforte to knock someone down or to slam them against the wall, but that’s not the whole story.”