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June 16, 2012

That Journalistic Assault on the President (and Two Views of the Perp)



I was interested in the reactions to the scene at the White House on Friday, the President’s Rose Garden statement being interrupted by a conservative journalist. In this polarized political climate, it appears that some looked at Neil Munro’s behavior and saw this:


Whereas a whole different segment, critical of both implementation of DREAM Act provisions by presidential order and limited press access to the President, looked at what we Munro did and saw this:


If there’s a wide distance between freedom of speech, which is what Rockwell was illustrating, by the way, and (protocol and respect surrounding) freedom of the press, I’m not sure certain people would be all that interested in the distinction.

From an editorial standpoint, it’s interesting to consider the difference in inflection between the two photos at the top of the post (the first by Getty’s Brendan Smialowski, the second by by Getty’s Alex Wong) to this one just above by the A.P.’s Haraz N. Ghanbari, and how Munro’s behavior might speak to these two audiences. Good times for the photo editor!

Someone has got to explain to me, by the way, how the bilingual edition of the Denver Post would have played it so neutrally. (And don’t miss the article’s first line.)

(photos 1-3: Getty Images. image 5: AP. caption 1: Neil Munro of the Daily Caller (C) interrupts U.S. President Barack Obama with questions as he delivered remarks about the Department of Homeland Security’s recent announcement about deportation of illegal immigrants in the Rose Garden at the White House June 15, 2012 in Washington, DC. With the DREAM Act unable to gain traction in Congress, Obama announced that his administration would stop deporting some young people who came to U.S. as children of illegal immigrants. painting: Norman Rockwell.)

  • psychohistorian

    Neil looks like a bully type which fits with his actions.  Maybe Mitt should look to Neil for a VP choice…two bullies for the price of one.

    What I found interesting in the first picture was the contrast between the “looks” of the blonde woman with Barbie’s co-model Ken and the disheveled, irreverent, Neil Munro…..Different parts of the same problem.

    • jonst

       ”…looks like a bully type…”.  Not where I grew up. He’d be a mantle piece in a bar.

    • BooksAlive

       Your “Ken,” Mike Viqueira, is always neat and well-groomed. He’s an NBC/MSNBC regular. As as for the black-suit comment below, only his jacket is dark. His trousers are light. Mr. Viqueira appears the same way in the daily press briefings, hewing to established protocol.

  • Enoch Root

    All that has to happen is that one white guy who isn’t wearing a black suit shows up with his hands in his pockets, disrespects the President, and gets away with it. That’s the whole of the message of this stunt.

    There is nothing that anyone can say in defense of the President that will resonate with the right-wing core. They’ve found a false equivalence with Sam Donaldson (who never interrupted the President), and thereby inoculated themselves against any criticism.There are only two types of reaction to this: 1) How rude, and 2) YEAH tell him! There is no in-between. This is a troll attack on Obama’s legitimacy.

  • George Mokray

    I’ve been trying to find the picture of the man who interrupted a George W Bush speech back during the first term (I guess) in Virginia (I think), a middle-aged man in the audience who stood up and asked Bush a question.  The picture of that event I’m thinking of is almost a complete copy of the Rockwell Four Freedoms illustration.  Does anybody remember that photo and the name of the man?

    • Michael Shaw

      There are several instances on YouTube. This is from 08, though the report is in Japanese:

    • jerryo

      It was the  hero that missed with two sneaker throws, he needs more practice

  • stevelaudig

    The body language reveals contempt just as persuasively as both the words and tone. But stepping back a bit. I am having trouble being troubled by public challenging of pols holding office whatever the setting by whoever. A more seasoned stump speaker or debater [say a British pol with house of commons training] would have taken the heckler off at the knees without breaking a sweat. US pols aren’t challenged enough and perhaps should be. Too bad the remarks weren’t framed a bit better but the press and the pols keep each other amateurs in the kabuki of propaganda called politics in the u.s. Hard to take either of them seriously.

  • quincyscott

    It’s the hands on his hips and in his pockets that really gets me. What kind of reporter doesn’t at least have his mic or notebook at hand? But no, this dick is standing there empty handed, not even bothering with the pretense of reporting.

    • Bladesmith818

      Why bother? He’s just going to make up lies anyways, so why write anything down?

  • BooksAlive

    >> the bilingual edition of the Denver Post would have played it so neutrally. (And don’t miss the article’s first line.) >>

    You may be happy to know that this Bag entry comes up first in my browser, GoodSearch, when I entered ” denver post neil munro ” – but no link to the newspaper. Can you provide the link?

    Switching search terms to “neil munro denver post” at least brings up story in English, with the Bag entry still on top.

  • Cjd1952

    The difference between the Rockwell painting and the reporter is this.  The man in the painting looks like he wants an honest answer to an honest question.  The reporter was just out to cause trouble and get Bowtie Carlson’s blog some attention.   The two have absolutely noting in common.

  • Glenn

    Munro has none of the accoutrements of the press – no pad and pen, no recorder, no camera, no blackberry. The whole purpose of his appearance is to confront the president. Anything he says to the contrary is a lie.

  • Stan B.

    Ya gotta realize- if you’re Black or female, you have no guaranteed right to speak regardless of position.

    Just be thankful they let ya vote- least in most states.

  • cf2k

    Brooks Brothers Riot redux.

  • Hilnlh

    I note that this blog a long time, some of the views or to support ?And i hope to learn a lot of communication with bloggers if i have time,ome time because of the style and methods are not doing things the same

  • fake ray bans

     Really nice job,There are many people searching about that now they will find enough sources by your tips.

  • E.A. Blair

    Munro doesn’t look like a reporter – he just looks like some shmoe who wandered in off the nearest skid row to give a drunken harangue.

    Things like this wouldn’t even be an issue were it not that there’s a ni African-American in the woodp White House.

  • emmy

    Interesting the guy has his hands in his pockets — I would expect if he was a serious reporter, he would have a notepad in hand ready to write down the President’s response. 

  • Lexy677

    This guy is a recent Irish immigrant himself.  Why doesn’t he GO BACK to Ireland?  Will someone deport him please???

  • Disabled

    I saw this on the net and was shocked Obama Diss miltary men and WomenObama tells staffer if they (America’s Young men and Women) Volunteer for military service. They don’t deserve disability benefits if they get them self’s hurt.
    Staffer was appalled and out raged. And told news crew.

  • BooksAlive

    Thanks.Obama was angry. There’s no shouting out at his press conferences. He calls on reporters who then ask their question. Obama’s answers go into detail and extend to several minutes, so this manages the time well.

    Munro’s comment later was that he thought Pres. Obama was at the end of his remarks, that he wouldn’t have asked the question if he thought otherwise. Pretty lame excuse.

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