Bush, and John McCain, and now Mitt Romney, received the presumption of Americanness and patriotism and humanity in a way that Obama never has. Indeed, this first black president of the United States has been relentlessly portrayed as an outsider, an alien, a monster and worse, a “boy” unworthy of his office, both before and after he was even elected. Worst of all, is the absence of leadership among the conservative and Republican elite pushing back on the most discourteous and outrageous characters among them.
For African-Americans, it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that Mr. Obama’s race plays at least some part in the seemingly irrational hatred and fear and disrespect he engenders on the right. Yes, Bill Clinton was called everything from a bum to a murderer by his conservative opponents (and impeached, to boot.) But that imaginary “first black president” never had a reporter, or a congressman, yell at him in the middle of a televised address, and his supporters never had to demand that a basic and decent respect for the office of president be applied to the man at the nation’s helm.
This time, most conservative journalists joined mainstream reporters in slamming Munro for unprecedented rudeness. But Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson released the following statement defending his reporter’s outburst:
“I don’t remember Diane Sawyer scolding her colleague Sam Donaldson for heckling President Reagan. And she shouldn’t have. A reporter’s job is to ask questions and get answers. Our job is to find out what the federal government is up to. Politicians often don’t want to tell us. A good reporter gets the story. We’re proud of Neil Munro.”
Not so fast, Tucker. As most people recall, Donaldson shouted his questions as Reagan was smiling and waving his way into and out of Air Force One, or as he walked into the White House, not in the middle of his speeches. And no president has been interrupted during a speech from the Rose Garden. To be fair, Carlson is the guy who called for NFL star turned dog fighting defendant Michael Vick to be put to death, so we really don’t expect much in the way of decorum from him, particularly given that his website is more along the lines of the late Andrew Breitbart’s online enterprise than the Washington Post or even the Wall Street Journal.
Daily Caller publisher Neil Patel also took a crack at explaining Munro’s behavior:
“The President today announced a very controversial policy and does not want to answer tough questions about it. Neil Munro is a veteran Washington reporter who today tried his best to time his question to be first as the President was wrapping up his remarks. He in no way meant to heckle the President of the United States.
And yet, heckle he did.