The recent assault on a journalist by a Congressional candidate, now elected, is the most recent example of disrespect for the constitutional recognition of a free press. Montana Congressman Gianforte publicly apologized for the assault. However, he said little or nothing about the largely fabricated statement issued by his campaign about what led to his poor behavior.
The Montana incident comes the same week that Texas Governor Greg Abbott joked about shooting reporters. In this same time period security guards physically pinned a journalist against a wall to prevent the questioning of a commissioner.
"If the First Amendment means anything, it means you can't body-slam a journalist," said Republican Senator Bob Sasse. Terms like "mainstream media" and "fake news" are now routinely hurled when certain political leaders want to dispute a fact - don't like a story - or simply object to being asked a tough question.
Fortunately, there are very few incidents in North Alabama of this type of behavior. Indeed, the vast majority of local and regional politicians have a generally positive working relationship with the media. When they don't like a story, we often receive a call to news management to discuss their concerns, in a tough, but civil conversation.
We thank our local politicians for this approach and pledge to you, the audience, that no matter what, we won't stop asking tough questions to those in power.
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