President Donald Trump likes to verbally attack a lot of people. Unless you’re an avid Trump supporter, you’re probably going to fall into his line of fire one way or another. As we all know, journalists are no exception. He loves referring to the media as “fake news” and, literally, the “enemy of the people.”
Now three Democratic lawmakers have introduced a Journalist Protection Act. The goal? To make “certain attacks on those reporting the news” a federal crime. The three Democrats are Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Technically, this is a reintroduction of the bill. Swalwell first introduced it in February 2018, saying at the time, “I really wish I didn’t have to introduce this, but we have seen rhetoric from the president declaring the media as the ‘enemy of the state.’”
Remember, at that point, the House was controlled by Republicans. Now that Democrats have taken it back, there’s hoping that the bill will actually move forward.
“The Journalist Protection Act makes it a federal crime to intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist affecting interstate or foreign commerce in the course of reporting or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from newsgathering for a media organization.It represents a clear statement that assaults against people engaged in reporting is unacceptable, and helps ensure law enforcement is able to punish those who interfere with newsgathering.”
Blumenthal said, “Under this administration, reporters face a near-constant barrage of verbal threats, casting the media as enemies of the American people and possible targets of violence. This bill makes clear that engaging in any kind of violence against members of the media will simply not be tolerated.”
Will this discourage Trump? Unlikely. But will it help hold him accountable? Hopefully.