Via press release:
Today Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) reintroduced the Journalist Protection Act to make a federal crime of certain attacks on those reporting the news. This reintroduction is happening during Sunshine Week, when we recognize the importance of access to information. A free press is critical in helping to shine light on our government and illuminate the challenges facing our country.
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 news gathering 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 news gathering.
Both before and since taking office, President Trump has blatantly stoked a climate of extreme hostility toward the press. He has called the press “the enemy of the American people,” and described mainstream media outlets as “a stain on America.” He once tweeted a GIF video of himself body-slamming a person with the CNN logo superimposed on that person’s face, and retweeted a cartoon of a “Trump Train” running over a person with a CNN logo on its head.
In March 2017, OC Weekly journalists said they were assaulted by demonstrators at a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach, CA. The following August, a reporter was punched in the face for filming anti-racism counter-protestors in Charlottesville, VA. At a rally hosted by the President in El Paso, TX just last month, a man in a Make America Great Again hat attacked a BBC reporter and yelled expletives directed at “the media.”