I’ve already commented about the bogus bird-dogging story out of Montana, where Greg Gianforte is accused of calmly and politely talking to a reporter and then out of nowhere Hulking out and bodyslamming him. Or clotheslining him so hard his feet flew into the air. Or grabbing him by the throat before throwing him down and ground-pounding him. It depends on who you ask and whether they have yet admitted that they “may have embellished.” Of course if you listen to the audio recording (made in a room with multiple reporters who for some reason forgot their smartphones and cameras and even their names) it sounds a lot more like what Gianforte says it was: the pajama boy reporter kept shoving a recording device in Gianforte’s face, Gianforte moved to push it away, and the reporter grabbed Gianforte’s wrist and a scuffle ensued. In which case the reporter is the clear aggressor. And from what Gianforte says on the recording immediately afterwards, it sounds like this is not the first time a Guardian reporter tried to do this. I went a few rounds with a few trolls on Twitchy about this last night and left them spitting and sputtering, it was fun.
Something else about this is kind of distressing. There are two more or less appropriate reactions to this situation: first, to believe Gianforte’s account (which I do based on the available evidence) and conclude that he did not, in fact, haul off and slam this reporter. That’s the more appropriate reaction. Second, to look at this situation, accept the nonsense account given by the beta douche reporter, and conclude that “well, he did it, but the reporter kinda deserved it.” This is substantially less okay. Not nearly as bad as the third option, taken by trolls and leftists and by the pearl-clutching media suddenly treating Fox News as a legitimate journalism outlet, which is “he did it and it’s an outrage against democracy and the First Amendment and proves Republicans are violent and evil and Nazis!!!!1one!!” That option is just plain stupid, nevermind unsupported by the evidence. But the second option isn’t a whole lot better.
I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today and he had several people call in and basically express option 2. Either they were in favor of roughing up rude reporters or they were just willing to give Gianforte a pass, they understood the reporter’s behavior brought on whatever Gianforte felt compelled to do. People, this is really not okay. Not only are you essentially saying Gianforte is a liar (and a monumental idiot) by giving Ben Jacobs’ bogus story this kind of credence, but you’re fueling a narrative to come. You’re allowing yourselves to be drawn into making statements that the dinosaur media will use to equate us with the animals who went out to “bash the fasc” at Berkeley. It doesn’t matter that all you’re doing is making a few cathartic statements and that all Gianforte did at most, at most, was respond to a provocation (and I maintain, as does the evidence, that he didn’t even do that). It doesn’t matter that he was provoked–that is the ride you sign up for as a Republican, to be antagonized and have traps laid for you by the dinosaur media. It doesn’t matter because the sound bites and tweets and other exclamations will be weighed against every violent outburst from the left and will be dressed up to be every bit as ugly as the left’s riots and beatings and acts of domestic terrorism.
I’m a criminal defense attorney by trade, and one thing we learn in law school is that a legal way to finagle a false confession out of someone is to give the suspect a “less bad” secondary option as an “out,” an explanation that fits what the interrogator is going for but isn’t quite so bad as, say, shooting someone in cold blood. “You didn’t just waste him, I can tell, he must have been coming at you.” They make it sound like “he was coming at you” is a complete justification when it’s not, at least not as far as they’re concerned. What the interrogator wants is not the excuse, just the “yeah, I did it,” and they don’t care if it’s the truth. Well, that’s what’s going on here. If you call shenanigans on Ben Jacobs’ story, you’ve got to try to defend that position or you get lambasted for “blaming the ‘victim.'” But there’s another option, and an easy “way out,” and that’s to say something along the lines of “well, he shouldn’t have done it, but I can understand why he did it” or “hell yeah I’m okay with this!” And just like “he came at me,” that gets you to concede the point they want, and from there the rest is unwanted explanation and is disregarded as such. They have their sound bite, they have your admission, they have their “X percentage of Republican voters believe Greg Gianforte attacked Ben Jacobs and are okay with that,” and I’m beginning to wonder if that’s what they were after all along. Just like with the kid in the interrogation room, this “out” leads in.
Don’t. Give. Them. This. Point. Greg Gianforte did not do anything wrong. The audio proves that the three wildly divergent stories from the media goons were substantially embellished if not cut from whole cloth. The only account that matches the audio recording is Gianforte’s. I know there’s a feeling of catharsis thinking that someone on our side got tired of being punched for being a Nazi and finally punched back, but that’s not what we do. Do NOT give them ammunition to portray us as such. Do NOT call Greg Gianforte a liar AND a fool in the same breath just because you feel a sense of relief watching one of these dweebs get punched. Repeat after me, my friends: this was a setup, and Greg Gianforte did nothing wrong. And punching people is bad.
UPDATE: There’s an article over at the Daily Wire (which is infested with zombie NeverTrumpers) claiming that the retraction/walkback by the Fox News reporterette was not actually a walkback. It’s baloney. Nevermind that the reporterette’s account does not even match Jacobs’ story. There is a mile of difference between grabbing beside someone’s neck and grabbing around someone’s neck in criminal law.