It was supposed to be a county budget meeting in Chattooga County, Ga., last Friday — but before it could even begin, the county commissioner’s wife stormed in and dumped a soda on a reporter’s head.
The shocking moment, captured partially on video, stunned the room into silence. Chattooga County Sole Commissioner Jason Winters’s jaw dropped. He uttered, “Oh, my God.” Another voice said: “There you go. I’m sick of it” — and Winters appeared to nod his head in agreement at his wife’s actions.
The incident comes amid mounting concerns about hostility toward journalists starting at the highest levels of government, with President Trump’s frequent cries of “fake news,” and trickling down to local news. This year, reporters have been threatened with arrest in Wisconsin if they failed to print a government news release word-for-word and in full (a resolution later rescinded), and have been threatened in Oregon with a criminal investigation for harassment for calling county employees on their personal cellphones (an investigation soon abandoned). Since 2017, 55 reporters have been attacked while covering protests, including one who was assaulted by a Trump supporter during a campaign rally, according to U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. –Meagan Flynn, Washington Post