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Framers understood need for free press

June 12, 2017

The special election between Greg Gianforte and Rob Quist is over, but the assault on the reporter Ben Jacobs in Bozeman last Wednesday will continue to ripple out across our country.

When Jacobs was violently attacked, so also was our freedom of the press, which in turn means that our democracy was undermined. As part of his bid to represent us in Congress, Gianforte promised the citizens of Montana that he would comment on the health care bill once the Congressional Budget Office gave their score on the bill. The CBO report was released on Wednesday. It was our right to know Gianforte’s position on that report. Jacobs posed that question for Montanans, yet, instead of providing the promised answer, Gianforte erupted in a brutal fashion more in keeping with repressive countries where violence thrives in the absence of the light of democracy.

Montanans went to the polls without knowledge of where Gianforte stands on a bill that will affect nearly every household. It’s now up to all of us to oppose a climate in which such a shocking and frightening thing could happen. Those working in the press deserve to be assured that we the people will hold all public officials accountable to interact in a respectful way with reporters from the entire spectrum of media. Without the information they provide, we are powerless to know the best way to advocate for the common good; the framers of the Constitution understood this.

Joan Kresich


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