Sen. Blumenthal to Introduce Bill Aimed at Violence Against the Media

By Melanie Arter | October 15, 2019 | 2:41pm EDT
(Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced plans Tuesday to introduce a measure to protect journalists from threats and violence,” The Hill reports.

The senator said any attack resulting in bodily harm to a journalist would be punishable by up to three years in prison, and any attack resulting in serious bodily harm would be punishable by up to seven years.

“What we have to address is the continuing threat of physical violence, whether by guns or other means, against the press that may intimidate them in their vital newsgathering operation,” Blumenthal said at a press conference.

“It is a priority for me to protect newsgathering operations no matter what their form and the act that we’re proposing would in fact establish a federal crime when someone threatens or attacks anyone doing fact-gathering or news operations. That is the purpose of this bill.”



As previously reported, President Donald Trump was called on to condemn a violent video meme shown at American Priority’s conference at Trump National Doral resort in Florida, portraying the president shooting members of the media taken from a scene in the movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service."

AMPFest 19 organizer Alex Phillips said the video was not seen or approved by organizers, and he only found out about the video when The New York Times contacted them for comment.

“The first time anyone officially associated with #AMPFest 19 was made aware of the video was when the NYT requested comment. We find it shocking that the New York Times would not report on any of the sanctioned events in the article. Including our panel conversation LITERALLY condemning political violence while claiming to be upset over a meme that was not sanctioned, shown on stage, or approved. #AMPFest 19 always has and always will condemn political violence. And proof of this was our major panel discussion on this very topic at #AMPFest,” Phillips said in a statement.

The White House Correspondents’ Association released a statement on Sunday, calling on Trump to denounce the video.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that the president “strongly condemns this video” even though he had not seen it.

“Re: the video played over the weekend: The @POTUS @realDonaldTrump has not yet seen the video, he will see it shortly, but based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns this video,” Grisham tweeted Monday.

“The WHCA is horrified by a video reportedly shown over the weekend at a political conference organized by the President’s supporters at the Trump National Doral in Miami. All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents. We have previously told the President his rhetoric could incite violence. Now we call on him and everybody associated with this conference to denounce this video and affirm that violence has no place in our society,” Jonathan Karl, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and ABC White House correspondent, said in a statement.


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