La crisi della democrazia americana

Appena ricevuto dalla redazione del Guardian:


Earlier this week, Guardian US political reporter Ben Jacobs tried to talk to Greg Gianforte, a Trump-backed tech millionaire running for Congress in a hotly contested special election in Montana, about healthcare policy. That conversation ended when, according to witnesses, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck, slammed him to the ground and punched him. Jacobs left the scene in an ambulance.

Less than 24 hours later, Gianforte was elected to Congress, one of the most powerful political positions in America.

The Guardian believes that Gianforte’s election hours after he was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly assaulting our reporter — an incident recorded by Jacobs on his mobile phone and corroborated by a local Fox news crew that witnessed the attack — sends an alarming signal about the health of American democracy and the swift erosion of press freedoms in the Trump era.

“It was the type of encounter I’ve never expected to have with a politician and one that’s very disappointing for what it means for the role of reporters asking questions,” said Jacobs. “We’re asking questions on behalf of voters who deserve to know what a politician would do if they were elected to office — in this case it was about a major healthcare bill that would reshape the American economy.”

Gianforte’s outburst was not a random act of violence. It came in the wake of the Guardian’s rigorous reporting of Gianforte’s campaign.

In Jacobs’ audio recording of his meeting with Gianforte, the politician sounds frustrated by the Guardian’s work. “I’m sick and tired of you guys,” Gianforte shouts at him. “You with the Guardian? Your last guy did the same damn thing.”

In April, the Guardian published an exclusive story written by Jacobs exposing Gianforte’s financial ties to a number of Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the US. Earlier this week, we ran an interview with Gianforte about his controversial environmental policies as part of our Anywhere but Washington video series. In that interview, the Guardian’s west coast bureau chief, Paul Lewis, challenged Gianforte over his support of Trump’s executive order that threatens more than two dozen national monuments in America, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana.

This attack on the Guardian comes at a time when journalists are being demonized by the Trump administration and its supporters in unprecedented ways. The president has declared reputable media organisations “the enemy of the American people”, and at least seven reporters have been arrested this year in the US while covering anti-Trump protests.

It has never been more important for us to stand strong against these aggressions. Our journalists work with complete editorial independence, safeguarded by our unique ownership structure that ensures we are free from commercial or political interference. This means we can hold power to account, an essential role in protecting democracy.

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Katharine Viner,
Editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media

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