Reporter and cameraman attacked with baseball bat while on assignment
Jose Lebron-Pimentel, a 36-year-old mechanic, attacked PIX11’s “Help Me Howard” reporter Howard Thompson and his cameraman, John Frasse, in Belmont, New York on February 6. While conducting a news interview, Lebron-Pimentel hit both Thompson and Frasse with a baseball bat outside of his car dealership. Lebron-Pimentel was arrested and charged with assault and is currently being held on $5,000 bail. "Help Me Howard" segments usually feature Thompson confronting landlords, business owners and others in order to shed light on local corruption involving New York residents. According to the police report, Thompson and Frasse weren’t severely injured.
California congressman proposes Journalist Protection Act
Eric Swalwell, Democratic Representative for California's 15th Congressional District, proposed a bill in the US House of Representatives on February 5. The bill, called the Journalist Protection Act, would make it a federal crime to harm a journalist in the field with the intent of preventing their work. Swalwell claimed that the recent threats against CNN show how necessary the legislation is: “President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration have created a toxic atmosphere. It’s not just about labelling reports of his constant falsehoods as #FakeNews – it’s his casting of media personalities and outlets as anti-American targets, and encouraging people to engage in violence.” Swalwell explicitly referred to President Trump’s July 2 tweet, which included a video of the president body-slamming and punching a person whose face was covered with the CNN logo, as “childish.” CNN received multiple death threats from a Michigan man, Brandon Griesemer, via phone call; Griesemer told the news outlet, “Fake news. I’m going to gun you all down.” In an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, Swalwell mentioned Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index and how the United States’ ranking fell to 43rd out of 180 countries between 2016 and 2017, mostly due to multiple press freedom violations that took place during the presidential election. “This is cause for concern, as the United States must not emulate nations in which violence against journalists is more common,” Swalwell said.
Vice President tweets ‘#FAKENEWS’ after Olympian skater refuses to meet with him