Decorum? What Decorum?

For the second time during an “official” event, President Barack Obama was interrupted by an outburst during his formal remarks.  The first time was in 2009 when Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” during the State of the Union address.  The second time was on Friday when reporter Neil Munro shouted a question during the Presidents address in the Rose Garden.

While giving a speech about a new Administration proposal to not deport illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children, reporter Neil Munro of the website Daily Caller shouted, “Why do you favor foreigners over Americans?”  Highly agitated by the interruption, President Obama replied with “Excuse me, sir, but it’s not time for questions.”  (More on that below.)

Pat Dollard – “He Rebuked Me”: Obama’s “Heckler” Speaks Out

“I shouldn’t be the story. The important thing is the president’s policy today, which could have a significant impact on American workers,” Munro said. I asked a question about that. Admittedly, it was in the middle of his speech. I thought he was ending his speech – his statement – but then I asked a question at the end and he turned his back on the reporters and walked away.”

He may have felt that, but that doesn’t excuse the interruption.  In the normal practice of an address, the President (if accepting) will turn over the meeting to the press to ask questions.  It is a clear defining line in the process, of which Munro crossed.  However, the President ended up not having a question-and-answer period, so by breaking decorum, he was able to get his question out and have the media outlets ask the question repeatedly during the day.

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler – How DARE He Interrupt His Magnificence, Obambi?

As we’re sure you know, Neil Munro of the Daily Caller shouted a question at Der Fubar regarding how he could legalize just short of a million illegal immigrants at a time when tens of millions of Americans are out of work. Not a bad question, really. And considering how (p)resident Downgrade McTransparency practically never answers any questions, preferring instead (as he did this time as well) to run for the exits as soon as the text on the TelePrompter runs out, it’s pretty much the only way to ask one before he disappears in a cloud of smoke and flutter of ears.

This is one of the more prominent complaint from critical journalists – the lack of question-and-answer periods during Presidential addresses.  President Obama tends to limit his exposure to the press except during chosen interviews or channels the response to questions through the press secretary or other surrogates.

Questions and Observations – A sterling example of that “world class temperament” we’ve often been told about

This episode was, naturally, followed by the usual panties-in-a-wad bleating from our legacy media, 95% of whom are far too cowardly and biased to challenge Obama on anything at any time. So naturally, they declared Obama a holy personage, and designated Munro’s questions as blasphemy. Well, something like that; when these guys get into high dudgeon, it always sounds to me like they’re talking about their religion.

Though I think it is less than 95% (since I have read and heard journalists debate the question itself), there has been more of a focus on Munro’s action than the question asked.  Maybe once the “shock” over the breech of decorum has waned, the focus will shift to the study of the impact the policy proposal will have on the current workforce conditions.

Bark Bark Woof Woof – Dream A Little DREAM

So, the president is basically implementing the DREAM Act that Republicans supported once upon a time…when it wasn’t sponsored by a black Democrat in the White House. That just so happens to be a big deal for a crucial voting bloc. This provokes the nutsery into acting like a bunch of sugared-up ten-year-olds throwing a tantrum, making them look like the rude and whiny brats that they are.

While some of the more attention-getting have jumped on this policy announcement (like they do with any), there was only one person that was rude in this case – Mr. Munro.  He violated the protocol of the press pool during an address by interrupting the President.  Any other criticism outside of the address is a free practice of the First Amendment.  Whiny as it might sound (and sometimes it is just that), it’s not rude.

Stop the ACLU – MSNBC Wonders If A White President Would Get Interrupted During Speech

Was it rude? A bit. Disrespectful? Was the journalist trying to do his job by asking the POTUS questions? Yes. That’s what journalists do. And let’s not forget, the POTUS is not a god, not royalty. POTUS is just another citizen of the USA, and is supposed to be responsible to The People.

That is true – the President is just a person.  In fact, if you look at the flow of power as structured within our government, the President is actually the employee of the People rather than the leader.  But even as an employee, the People (which includes elected officials and journalists) must remain respectful during official functions.

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2 Responses to Decorum? What Decorum?

  1. DJ Allyn says:

    First off, Neil Munro is not really a journalist — he is an over-glorified blogger who posts opinions. To credit him as a “journalist” is really stretching the definition to the point of comedy.

    Why he was there in the first place is a big question. The previous administration would never have allowed a left-wing blogger anywhere near the president, and they certainly would never have him or a representative of that website back again after that kind of outburst.

    Yes, the president IS an “employee”, but he also holds a powerful office that demands respect, even if you don’t respect the person holding that office.

    I could give a rip whether the president answers questions after his announcement or not. That isn’t the issue here. The issue is that the Right wing hates this particular president so much that they will deliberately go out of their way to disrespect him.

    And seriously, this has absolutely nothing to do with a president issuing an executive order or even the issue surrounding it. The DREAM act was fully supported by Republicans — until Obama supported it. They also supported the numerous executive orders that GW Bush signed during his tenure.

    No, this has more to do with having a black man in the White House, and they aren’t even bothering to hide it any more.

    • Thanks for the lengthy reply. I always appreciate the input.

      You make some good discussion points which could be come topics on their own. The first point is about Munro being a journalist. With the way the “new media” has exploded over the past decade, the classical stereotype of a journalist has definitely gone by the wayside. One of the defining points is that the person is affiliated with a news organization. Many professional bloggers might debate that point today, but in the case of Munro, is affiliated with the news organization Daily Caller. Now, if the Daily Caller is a credible news organization, that’s a whole different question. (Similar to the debates over sites like the Daily Beast, DailyKos, Talon News, etc…)

      As far as the Bush administration never allowing a left-wing blogger near the President, it did happen and I’m struggling to find who it was. I do remember that it was someone from the DailyKos who did have press credentials, and he did ask a slanted question, but I’m lacking the details in order to do a proper search for it online. When I find it, I’ll post the link. However, I do know that it was during a question-and-answer period and he didn’t interrupt the President’s speech.

      Regarding respecting of the office of the President, you and I are in complete agreement (see my final paragraph of the article).

      “…deliberately go out of their way to disrespect him.” There are always the few in any group that will go that route, but as I noted, this is twice under Obama’s term where it has happened during official events by professionals. In the past, it was limited to activists (who were quickly removed) or the professionals waited until the event was over to make their points. I do not agree with the practice as in this particular case because it is bad form and unbecoming of the ideal that our form of media and government should be projecting.

      This policy proposal also mirrors much which the Republicans have currently proposed as the alternate to the DREAM Act which is why I think the Obama administration went ahead by announcing the common ground portion within their proposal. (It’s hard to argue against your own ideas.) However, I think the serious complaint is how it’s being done with the Administration choosing not to implement current laws rather than having Congress actually pass new laws to make it firm. As it is now, the next Administration – be it Romney in 2012 or whomever in 2016 – could easily overturn the administration policy without any legislative act, creating a whole new limbo state for those impacted.

      And lastly, I always pull out the “smell test” when it comes to charges of racism. Would the right-wing do this to President Allen West (for example)? Would it be racism if it was President Hillary Clinton? I highly doubt it, so I believe this is more about severe dissatisfaction than it does about skin color.

      Thanks again for the great reply. Sorry that might was just as lengthy. Like I said, each great point you made could easily be a topic in its own right. :)

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