theGrio editiorial: Disrespect is the story, not Neil Munro

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Neil Munro, a veteran Washington reporter who now works for the conservative blog the Daily Caller, says his shouted question at President Barack Obama “shouldn’t be the story.”

“The important thing is the president’s policy today, which could have a significant impact on American workers. I asked a question about that,” Munro told the blog after a firestorm of criticism (and right wing delight) over his repeated interruptions of the president’s address Friday on his new immigration policy.

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“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,” said Munro, an Irish-born conservative (married to an American) whose previous work includes alleging that the White House kanoodled with Islamic jihadis, nonetheless apparently could not contain his concern for the American worker long enough to let the president actually finish his statement. And Munro appears to have been the only reporter at the speech who thought the end of the president’s remarks had come.

“Timing these things is a little awkward. He speaks very well, very smoothly — very nice delivery. It’s hard to know when he’s about to end. I thought he was going to end today. I asked my question too early. He rebuked me. Fair enough.”

Or maybe not “fair enough.”

Munro is just the latest example of conservatives inviting the simultaneous rebuke of those who value courtesy and respect for the office of the president, and the jubilation of those on the right who detest Barack Obama and want no part of respecting him as president. From South Carolina Republican congressman Joe Wilson, who erupted with “you lie!” on the House floor as the president delivered a primetime address to the nation, in which he explained that healthcare reform would not permit illegal immigrants to take advantage of the system (and who then raised money off his unprecedented outburst), to Newt Gingrich’s thinly veiled denigration of the president in racial terms as the “food stamp president,” to the governor of Arizona jabbing her finger in the commander in chief’s face, to the various GOP officials who have thought it wisdom to email around cartoons depicting Obama as everything from a chimp to a spook, disrespect of this president has become part of the right wing routine. (To say nothing of the horrendous treatment of Michelle Obama by some on the right…)

Conservatives are quick to point out that George W. Bush was treated poorly by liberals, too. True enough. But if Mr. Bush’s place of birth was ever questioned, if his grades — as poor as they were known to be — were ever brought up by the likes of Donald Trump as proof  he shouldn’t have gotten into Yale, and if he was called an affirmative action hire because his father and grandfather went to the Ivy League school, literally grandfathering him in, that would be news to most African-Americans.