Local Connection: Reporters under siege

When a Montana congressional candidate body-slammed a news reporter, it alarmed those of us in the journalism business who send out reporters on a mission to ask tough questions daily.

This candidate may just be a hot-head who lost his patience, but for a politician to do such a thing in the past would have been unthinkable.

You have to wonder if the heated rhetoric being aimed at the press these days made him feel he could get away with it.  President Trump has led the verbal attack on the news media, and it has often been personal.

It's clear he not only wants to undermine the credibility of the press corps, he wants to weaken the traditionally powerful role of the media in our government.

The President has never personally called for violence against journalists, but no one should be surprised if it starts happening more frequently.

In many other countries, reporters have been murdered for trying to inform the public, or simply for asking the wrong questions. But in America, our traditional respect for press freedom -- and the acceptance of journalism as a vital institution -- has made physical intimidation of reporters very rare.

The day that changes will be a day our Democracy is truly in peril.

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