It's been reported that reporter Ben Jacobs of the Guardian was "body-slammed" by a GOP candidate for asking him questions about health care. The incident just happened to occur on the eve of a special election for the House of Representatives for the state of Montana. Hours after the incident, it was also reported that the candidate earned a misdemeanor Assault charge according to a sheriff involved with the case.

Audio of the incident was posted by the Guardian where the reporter is heard asking Greg Gianforte a question which he deflected. Jacobs became insistent -- as reporters generally are -- before the candidate is heard losing it.

A scuffle is heard and then followed by a crash. Jacobs is then heard saying that he was body-slammed and that Gianforte broke his glasses.

Blaming reporter for doing their job

At 9 PM eastern, Shane Scanlon who is Gianforte's spokesman released a statement where he blames Ben Jacobs for being aggressive and without skipping a beat calls Jacobs a "liberal journalist" in his statement to further energize the candidate's Republican base who see Liberals as targets. It was reported that police officers were called to the scene and Jacobs tweeted out that sheriffs were taking statements from witnesses.

Greg Gianforte had apparently left the area without saying anything. Surprisingly, Fox News was witness to the assault and published a report in support of Jacobs contradicting the spokesman's claims. This is surprising for the fact that Fox News conservative journalists, pundits, reporters, and anchors target the "Liberal" media as the enemy.

Attacks on the press are nothing new in third world countries that are powered by dictators and despots. For the United States, however, until Donald Trump began an aggressive presidential campaign where he targeted journalists, it was far from the norm.

As President, he has continued his attacks from the podium and has even threatened to cancel White House press briefings for negative reporting on him. More reports have increased on reporters being physically attacked by government officials or their guards under President Trump. One could go back to when the Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski assaulted a female reporter.

Gianforte's assault designed to energize Trump supporters

Recently in Washington, it was said that a reporter from the National Press Club approached FCC Commission board member Michael O'Rielly (Republican) before he was pinned against a wall by two security guards at FCC headquarters. O'Rielly is a hold over from the Obama era.

Trump's pick for health secretary Tom Price was approached on May 9, by Dan Heyman of the Public News Service and also asked about the health care bill when Price's Secret Service signaled Capitol police to remove him.

After it was reported that Heyman had been arrested, Tom Price said on the following Wednesday that law enforcement did what was necessary. It's likely that Gianforte felt that in the Trump era, he would be able to physically assault a reporter and get the support of extremist right-wing Trump voters that could seal his win for the election. As of this writing it is unknown what the outcome of the election could be.