MSNBC Guest Insists Neil Munro Motivated by Hatred of Non-white Immigrants, ‘White Supremist Ideology’
Any old liberal journalist can charge Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro for being a racist for rudely interrupting President Obama during a press conference. It takes a hard-core lefty to delve deeper to diagnose the Irish-born journalist as a bigot for, well, questioning Obama's policy vis-a-vis how it harms the job prospects of American citizens.
During a segment on the June 19 edition of his eponymous program, Bashir assented to the spurious charge by The Root contributor Edward Wyckoff Williams that Munro – an Irish-born naturalized American citizen -- was motivated by a "white supremist [sic] ideology" as evidenced by his belief that President Obama’s quasi-amnesty policy helps illegal immigrants at the cost of job opportunity to American citizens:
WYCKOFF WILLIAMS: It’s sort of disingenuous and sort of cognitive dissonance example here of someone who is Irish working in America but somehow believes that he’s more legitimate than a Hispanic who comes here as an immigrant.
And I think that it speaks to sort of a white supremist [sic] ideology, this idea that being white in and of itself is mainstream and somehow he is more deserving of being in America, even though he’s foreign-born than the Hispanics or Asians and Africans who come seeking the American Dream.
And I wish that more people in the mainstream media would call him out on that aspect of what he said.
Indeed? A fair, objective journalist would be demand to see evidence to back up that claim, particularly since Obama’s policy is not about immigration per se but benefiting folks who are in the United States because they are violation of federal immigration law.
Whether Bashir or Wyckoff Williams like it or not, Munro is an American citizen who was previously a legal permanent resident in the United States. As a former legal immigrant who abided by the law, isn’t it entirely possible that Munro’s disagreement with the president is motivated by anger at the fact that he abided by the law while others who haven’t are going to benefit from a president who won’t enforce it?
Move over, Obama Boy -- you've got serious competition from Geraldo Rivera.
Talking with GOP Rep. Allen West on his WABC radio show yesterday, Rivera made a fawningly inane analogy to describe Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro's unmitigated gall in attempting to ask questions at a presidential news conference (audio) --
RIVERA: First of all, let me just get you on the protocol issue. Do you agree with me that it was totally out of line for the Daily Caller blogger guy to interrupt the president's statement?
WEST: Well, I think the thing is, you know, the media's supposed to have an opportunity to ask questions. I don't know if they were told they would not get the opportunity to do so. But as far as White House protocol, you should have allowed the president to finish and then ask for questions and the president in due respect to the media that was there should have taken those questions.
RIVERA: It would, it's like interrupting Lincoln during the Gettysburg Address or the Emancipation Proclamation.
WEST: Yeah, but also, I mean, I've had many a town hall event where, you know, there have been some pretty nasty epithets shouted at me. So, you know, there are jerks on both sides ...
GERALDO (laughs): OK, I grant you that, I grant you that.
Am I reading too much into Rivera's remarks to wonder if he's aware that the Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order, not a speech delivered by Lincoln?
Henceforth the Obama administration might want to signal when questions will be allowed from the media and when reporters will be expected to emulate statuary.
New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter got huffy in a Friday blog post on behalf of his fellow liberal journalists, who took to Twitter en masse, aghast at the audacity of a reporter from a conservative news site interrupting President Obama's Rose Garden speech outlining his controversial new immigration policy (a version of Stelter's story also made it into print on Saturday).
The Times was kinder to an Iraqi journalist who hurled a shoe at President Bush during a December 2008 press conference in Baghdad, emphasizing his "defiant act" and "hero status" in Iraq.
Stelter wrote on Friday:
As Mr. Obama was making a statement from the Rose Garden about a new immigration policy on Friday afternoon, a reporter from The Daily Caller, a conservative news Web site, repeatedly raised his voice and tried to interrupt. The reporter, Neil Munro, tried to ask whether the policy -- intended to help young illegal immigrants get work – was good for legal American workers.
“Excuse me, sir,” Mr. Obama said when Mr. Munro initially spoke up. He put his hand in the air and raised a finger, as if to say “wait.”
“It’s not time for questions, sir,” Mr. Obama continued. “Not while I’m speaking.”
A few minutes later, Mr. Obama referenced the incident by saying, “And the answer to your question, sir, and the next time I’d prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question, is this is the right thing to do for the American people.”
Mr. Munro then apparently interrupted again.
“I didn’t ask for an argument, I’m answering your question,” Mr. Obama said.
By shouting out and repeatedly interrupting the president during a speech, Mr. Munro violated decorum at the White House and generated online shouts of disapproval from other reporters, analysts and historians. The incident took place two weeks after the president’s top strategist, David Axelrod, was nearly drowned out at a campaign event by hecklers who had come to support Mitt Romney.
Another incident that came to mind to some was when Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, shouted “You lie” during an address to Congress by Mr. Obama in 2009.
An incident that Stelter left out: Democrats heckling President George W. Bush for advocating Social Security reform at the State of the Union in 2005.
Stelter gave Daily Caller publisher Tucker Carlson a chance to defend Munro.
Mr. Carlson, a former co-host of a show on CNN, “Crossfire,” where the interruption of others was a part of the formula, started The Daily Caller in early 2010 to publish political news and commentary, frequently through a conservative prism. Among Mr. Carlson’s investors is Foster Friess, the financier who has donated millions to Republican candidates this year.
The Daily Caller has highlighted what it calls liberal media bias, and Mr. Carlson said he expected the “Obama worshipers in the press” to attack Mr. Munro. When told that his reporter was being called a heckler, Mr. Carlson answered, “That’s what it’s called when you try to get the president to answer your question?”
Bob Beckel Tells Tucker Carlson: Giving Daily Caller a White House Pass ‘Craziest Idea I’ve Ever Heard’
Liberal Fox News political commentator Bob Beckel had a heated exchange with Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson on Hannity Monday evening.
With the topic Neil Munro's interruption of President Obama Friday, Beckel said, "The idea that they gave the Daily Caller a White House pass is the craziest idea I've ever heard" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BOB BECKEL: Did you spend the whole afternoon at Starbucks? I'm just curious. Can you answer me, is this guy, is this guy an American citizen?
TUCKER CARLSON, DAILY CALLER: Is Neil Munro American? Look, I'm not going to stand here and let you throw out your anti-Irish bigotry again. If I have to stand up and defend immigrants from you I will.
Carlson was obviously referring to comments Beckel made on Monday's The Five concerning Munro.
“His mother and father didn’t raise him very well to have manners like that,” Beckel said. “Look at this dude. Is he Irish — Scottish or Irish or something?”
When co-host Greg Gutfeld asked, “What are you talking about,” Beckel responded, "He’s an immigrant."
But I digress:
BECKEL: Okay, I appreciate that, but I still want an answer to my question. Is he an American citizen?
CARLSON: Of course he’s an American.
BECKEL: Okay, I didn’t know.
CARLSON: And a proud one.
BECKEL: I'm glad to hear that, but is he, if I were the White House, here's the White House mistake. The idea that they gave the Daily Caller a White House pass is the craziest idea I've ever heard.
CARLSON: Why? We're bigger than the Chicago Tribune.
BECKEL: I know you are. That’s another reason why…
CARLSON: We're bigger than the Boston Globe. They can’t not give us a pass.
BECKEL: Another reason I wouldn’t put, sure they can. All you got to do is not give it to you.
CARLSON: Let them. Bob, good luck with that.
As you can see, Beckel really isn't somebody that should be criticizing anyone else's manners.
@NoelSheppard) June 9, 2012
As NewsBusters previously reported, former White House correspondent Sam Donaldson said Saturday, "Many on the political right believe this president [Barack Obama] ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his policies and political view but for who he is, an African American!”
On CNN Newsroom Sunday, Don Lemon agreed with Donaldson's indefensible observation (video follows with transcript and commentary):
DON LEMON: There’s a huge difference between Sam Donaldson and Neil Munro. For starters, who the hell is Neil Munro? Mr. Donaldson’s very dignified response reads like this. “Never once did I interrupt a president in any way while he was making a formal statement.”
Donaldson says what Munro did was “something new, to me wrong and unusual.” He also said, “Let’s face it: Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his policies and political view but for who he is, an African American!”
Finally, the elephant in the Rose Garden. Thank you, Sam Donaldson – enough said there.
Very dignified response? Hardly. As I wrote Saturday:
There's nothing different about what the Right said about former President Bill Clinton than what they're currently saying about Obama...And no matter what we've seen from conservative talkers and the Tea Party with regard to Obama, it doesn't come close to the virulence we witnessed aimed at George W. Bush from the Left.
I don't recall conservatives saying liberal attacks on Bush were racist. Do you, Don?
As I asked Lemon on Twitter, is everything with Obama about race? Can anyone in the media criticize this president without it being about the color of his skin?
Sadly, Lemon didn't like my question, and retreated.
But the point is important.
Regardless of what anyone thinks about Munro's behavior in the Rose Garden Friday, claiming it had anything to do with the president being black is offensive and demeaning.
For well over two hundred years, journalists have been able to criticize the White House resident without being accused of racism.
Does that have to be different for the first black president?
When Obama first threw his candidate hat into the ring in February 2007, many on the right worried that it would be difficult covering him because all critiques would be met with accusations of racism.
Over five years later, this is still the case.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said Saturday in response to Donaldson's remarks, "The President's ideas are what I oppose, not his skin color, which I couldn't care less about. He's the President of the United States and his race does not inoculate or immunize him from substantive critique."
But that's not really true, is it?
For over five years, media members like Lemon have been throwing the race card at every conservative having the gall to criticize Obama.
Much as the president three and a half years into his first term still blames all of the problems in the world on his predecessor, the press castigate every conservative with a less than favorable view of the White House resident as racist.
Will this man and his record ever be allowed to be judged exclusively for what they are irrespective of the color of his skin?
Or is that asking too much?
Sam Donaldson: Many on Right ‘Like Limbaugh’ Oppose Obama ‘Not for His Policies’ But Because He’s Black
The mainstream media's response to Barack Obama being interrupted by a Daily Caller reporter during a Rose Garden press conference Friday is getting more preposterous with each passing second.
ABC's former White House correspondent Sam Donaldson told the Huffington Post Saturday, "Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his polices [sic] and political view but for who he is, an African American!"
As a little backround, Caller editor Tucker Carlson said in response to the controversy surrounding Neil Munro's aggressive questionning:
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.
Donaldson communicated with the Post via email Saturday, and responded:
Never once did I interrupt a president in any way while he was making a formal statement, a speech, honoring awardees or in any other way holding the floor. Yes, almost always when he was finished in the Rose Garden or in the Briefing Room or at a photo opportunity with other world leaders I tried to question him (only rarely was it a shout on the rope line, more often a more normal tone of voice) and other reporters of course did the same thing along with me.
What this man did yesterday is something new, to me wrong and unusual. I think it is probably the result of the growing incivility of the times, the competition among reporters and news organizations to be noticed not only for the work product but for the theatrics of the gathering…and there is one more factor, let’s face it: Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his polices [sic] and political view but for who he is, an African American! These people and perhaps even certain news organizations (certainly the right wing talkers like Limbaugh) encourage disrespect for this president. That is both regrettable and adds, in this case, to the general dislike of the press on the part of the general public.
For Tucker Carlson to say that he would if he can give this man a raise for this rude attempt to interrupt the president is reflective of what I’ve said above and, to me, lowers my opinion of Tucker.
One quite imagines if Ronald Reagan were alive, he mightn't agree with Donaldson's recollection of his behavior as a White House correspondent. I'm sure many of those old enough recall some extremely contentious exchanges between Donaldson and Reagan back then.
As NewsBusters reported hours ago, the Associated Press in 1987 actually wrote about "grown men and women...shouting at President Reagan at the top of their lungs."
Hard to believe Donaldson wasn't a part of it.
He's been around long enough to know that both sides are quite hostile in attacks on their opponents, and something like race rarely enters into the equation in this day and age.
There's nothing different about what the Right said about former President Bill Clinton than what they're currently saying about Obama.
One could actually make the case that Limbaugh has mellowed a bit with age, and that he was much more aggressive with his criticisms of Clinton. At the very least, he was no softer on that President and his administration than this one.
And no matter what we've seen from conservative talkers and the Tea Party with regard to Obama, it doesn't come close to the virulence we witnessed aimed at George W. Bush from the Left.
I don't recall conservatives saying those attacks were racially based. Do you?
As such, unless Donaldson at the ripe age of 78 is beginning to experience a loss of long-term memory, he might want to rethink his comments about Munro's behavior Friday and how it compares to the past.
As odd as it may seem, he should learn from MSNBC contributor Julian Epstein who asked Friday, "Would the rightwing be doing this if we had a white president?"
Donaldson and all those offended by what happened in the Rose Garden Friday should ask themselves if they'd be as disgusted if Munro were a liberal reporter and Obama a white Republican they didn't support.
It seems a metaphysical certitude there'd be far less handwringing about this, including from ABC's former White House correspondent.
You'd think from the reaction to Daily Caller White House Correspondent Neal Munro's shouted question during President Obama's announcement of de facto amnesty for 30-and-under illegal aliens at the Rose Garden yesterday that it's the first time any reporter has ever shouted a question at a U.S. president out of turn. Friday afternoon, the Daily Caller, Munro's employer, carried his explanation of the incident, as well as sturdy defenses from Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and Publisher Neil Patel.
What follows is some historical perspective ("Why Do Grown Men And Women Shout At President Reagan?") coming from (yes, really) Associated Press writer Christopher Connell in October 1987 which is more than necessary in the circumstances (save here in full for fair use and discussion purposes; key items underlined by me).
Here it is:
Comments on the underlined items:
- Not only did they "do it for a living," they did it almost constantly during Reagan's eight years, almost regardless of the circumstances. It appeared to be a strategy designed to make the president appaer aloof and stand-offish, when by 1987 (which is probably why Connell decided to cover it) it was clear that the press's image had been severely tarnished by its years-long virtually non-stop childishness.
- It got so bad that by Reagan's second term, the press was almost routinely interrupting equivalent presidential functions like the one Robert Bork was involved in as described above.
- I believe it's fair to say that Obama and his apparatchiks have limited direct presidential access to Dear Leader far more than Reagan and his handlers ever did. Shoot, at one point (and I believe it's still the case), Obama's people were deciding ahead of time who in the press would get the privilege of asking him questions.
Now, all of a sudden, Neil Munro is a "heckler" getting a beat-down from the White House Correspondents Association amid speculation that The Daily Caller might "lose its access to the President and to the White House." What a bunch of flaming, presidential boot-licking hypocrisy.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.
A Politico reporter has suggested that racism was behind Neil Munro's questioning of President Obama at the White House yesterday. Saying "it's very, very difficult to place race outside of this context," the Politico's Joe Williams claimed racially-motivated direspect of PBO is part of a pattern among conservatives, citing Rep. Joe Wilson, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and the Tea Party.
Williams made his remarks in the course of responding to a question from Michael Eric Dyson, subbing for Ed Schultz on MSNBC last night. View the video after the jump.
Watch Joe Williams being only too happy to side with Dyson's suggestion that the various episodes cited were motivated by the fact that "this is the nation's first African-American president."
After commenting on the Munro exchange with the President Obama, Schultz sub Michael Eric Dyson suggested there was a pattern.
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: The "you lie" incident by Wilson, Brewer with her finger-wagging. This seems to be part of a larger issue. And I gotta ask the question here: does it have anything to do with the fact that this is the nation's first black president and the level of disrespect is alarming and stunning?
JOE WILLIAMS: It's very, very difficult to place race outside of this context. Mostly because a lot of the interruptions, a lot of the disrespect has been unprecedented. We haven't seen anything like this before. A lot of people will suggest it's because the Republican party has moved so far to the right that they're willing to do things that were unthinkable. But certainly in my experience, it's hard to divorce that because this president doesn't look like the others. And not only do we have a lot of these sort of interruptions, a lot of disrespect towards the office, in more than my view, I mean, a lot of people in the tourist field and practicing journalists were agog, were aghast at what had happened. But you also have the promotions of the Tea Party, where they're using racially-tinged imagery, and racially-tinged sort of statements to get their point across. You have a lot of Members of Congress on the Republican side who feel like they can do whatever or talk about whatever. I mean, have you ever heard of a president being talked about in the way that this congress has talked about him, where you say our job is to make sure this guy serves one term, as opposed to our job is to see that the best interests of the country are served. So given all that evidence, it's hard to divorce that. A lot of people will defend it as saying other presidents were disrespected, but in my view none so publicly.
Barack Obama on Friday, while giving a speech in the White House Rose Garden about his new illegal immigration edict, was interrupted with a question from the Daily Caller's Neil Munro.
Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for someone on MSNBC to suggest it was because the president is black (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
As this was addressed on the Martin Bashir show shortly after it happened, Democratic strategist turned MSNBC contributor Julian Epstein said, "Jonathan and Joy-Ann are not saying something because I think they’re being politic here, but, it, this is just so unprecedented and so outrageous that you have to ask the question: would the rightwing be doing this if we had a white president there? The fact that the first African-American president…”
Host Bashir interrupted saying, “Well, you go ahead and answer that question, Julian. You answer that question.”
“I think it’s a very important question,” Epstein continued, “because I think that this is the first African-American president, and we’ve never had a white president been told by the opposing party to shut up in the middle of a major address to Congress. We’ve never had a president heckled so disrespectfully. We’ve never had this otherness afforded to any other president.”
“And I think the rightwing is going to have some explaining to do, because to me, it seems patently obvious.”
To begin with, we are by no means condoning Munro's behavior.
However, is everything that happens to President Obama because of the color of his skin?
As the Daily Caller is a conservative website, isn't it far more likely Munro doesn't agree with the new immigration policy the current White House resident was presenting that just so happens to be an edict without any approval from Congress?
Or is it just always better on MSNBC to throw the race card whenever possible?