Paul Hampton

If you feel like romping on a reporter, do it in fashion

Republican multimillionaire Gianforte won Montana’s only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground. After being declared the winner, Gianforte apologized both to Jacobs and to the Fox News crew for having to witness the attack.
Republican multimillionaire Gianforte won Montana’s only U.S. House seat on Thursday despite being charged a day earlier with assault after witnesses said he grabbed a reporter by the neck and threw him to the ground. After being declared the winner, Gianforte apologized both to Jacobs and to the Fox News crew for having to witness the attack. AP

Somewhere along the line, some politicians have come up with a novel marketing plan.

Some of them, we’ll call them the worst ones, have decided they’ll answer to no one. They’ll blow off constituent letters or answer them with some canned gibberish.

They’ll dodge interviews. Through gerrymandering, they’ll dodge voters. They’ll meet with donors but not with Regular Jills at town halls.

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that this breed of politician happens to inhabit the age of the new RompHim fashion. If you are going to act like a child, might as well dress like one.

So it’s no surprise the latest iteration of the Man Without An Answer is Greg Gianforte, the congressman-elect who went all WWE on reporter Ben Jacobs because Jacobs asked him a question. Now, I’ve heard all sorts of excuses for Gianforte’s bad behavior, most of which blame or mock Jacobs. Gianforte let a lot of the gas out of those bags when he admitted he was wrong — an admission that would have seemed more sincere had it come before the election (or before the lame statement his crew put out blaming Jacobs).

The worst of the worst, though, say it’s OK to body slam a reporter. Those who believe reporters aren’t reporting, they’re trying to take President Donald Trump down. They promote that conspiracy theory with the confidence of someone who’s eavesdropped on the midnight cabal meetings where the slant of the next day’s news is determined.

It is, to quote The Stranger, stupefying.

Seems like a bunch of geniuses smart enough to align the various media empires in a single-minded pursuit of a single person as a means of, I guess, world domination, would be smart enough to just cut out the middle man and dominate the world.

Best I can tell, it hasn’t worked out that way. At least for me.

I’m still at my desk on Friday afternoon, the Friday before a long weekend. Seems we’d have just taken the rest of the afternoon off and retired to the beach with our minions to hatch another plot.

One thing the conspiracy folks haven’t revealed: What in the world is the upside for journalists who are trying to destroy democracy and so forth? Seems to me, journalists suffer at least as much as the next person when democracy falters. I’m sure this will all be made clear in due time.

I’m sure they will explain this time is different. Sure, all through history, bad guys have muzzled the media as a means of grabbing power. Or is that just #fakehistory?

That’s the disservice these journalist-hating people do to the rest of us. They give rise to the likes of Mississippi legislator Karl Oliver. It took him two days’ worth of bad press to reach the conclusion that “lynching” was a poor choice of words.

Thank goodness we’ll never know how far Oliver would go with no reporters to keep an eye on him.

I have a challenge for politicians: When someone asks a reasonable question, remember who you work for and answer them.

Remember, Jacobs was asking about the Congressional Budget Office score of a bill that is supposed to repeal and replace Obamacare. The CBO found it would leave 23 million more Americans without health care.

That’s a question worth asking.

And to those who believe it’s a question that deserves to be answered with violence, I refer you to my older brother.

He can show you the bite marks.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton

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