Trump friend still at large!
Trump friend still at large!
Brian Feinzimer / OC Weekly

Press Freedom Tracker Tallies Assaults on Journalists Including the Weekly's Own

President Donald Trump has tweeted and retweeted more than a few attacks on media outlets and individual journalists this year. His most short-lived proved to be a deleted RT of a Corona del Mar woman's meme of the Trump train running over a CNN reporter just days after a white nationalist plowed through and killed protester Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.

Down from the tweets into the streets, journalists covering protests are being attacked with more than just words in alarming numbers—including a trio of Weekly workers during the now-infamous #MAGA March in Huntington Beach.

The Committee to Protect Journalists and the Freedom of the Press Foundation launched a tracker back in August to document 29 such physical attacks on reporters so far this year. They've also tallied 31 arrests, 4 border stops and 14 equipment search and seizures in that same time that hamper the ability of reporters to do their job. Most of the physical attacks take place at public protests and demonstrations.

No database would be complete without citing what happened to a Weekly intern and two photographers on March 25 during a pro-Trump rally in HB. Frank John Tristan, now a freelancer, got the worst of the Trumpbro cheap shots. As the "U.S. Press Freedom Tracker" retells it, "as demonstrators attacked [photographer] Brian Feinzimer, Tristan attempted to intervene and was repeatedly punched by an unidentified assailant."

That's not to mention white nationalist fight club DIY Division member Tyler Laube getting his licks in, too, against Tristan when being pulled away from the ruckus. The tracker also notes another Trumper hitting former Weekly photographer Julie Leopo with a U.S. flag during the same demonstration. Of course, the Orange Coast District of California State Parks police showed no interest in investigating the physical attacks.

The tracking is a bipartisan effort backed by more than a dozen press freedom and news organizations. It doesn't just zero in on attacks by pro-Trump rally goers, but against conservatives, too. In one documented case, a man dumped a liter of water over the head of National Review reporter and Fox News personality Katherine Timpf during a campaign event at a Brooklyn bar this summer.

With less than three months left in 2017, don't beat up any more reporters. Send us your lovely valentines over email, instead!

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