[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Some of you may have noticed that President Obama was interrupted and then heckled by a supposed "reporter" in the Rose Garden today as he announced his plans to help DREAM-eligible immigrants. And you probably wondered what the hell that was about.
Turns out it was Tucker Carlson and his squad of incompetent buffoons at work, according to David Graham at The Atlantic:
An extremely unusual occurrence happened today as President Obama spoke at the White House. The president was offering a statement on his executive order suspending deportations for certain illegal immigrants brought here as children ... when a reporter started heckling him and shouting questions.U.S. News and World Report called it "a first for the White House Rose Garden":
The reporter has been identified as Neil Munro of the Daily Caller, a conservative online news outlet run by Tucker Carlson. Though it employs some talented journalists, the site has become known for partisan chicanery. Perhaps most notably, the DC ran a story alleging that the EPA planned to hire 230,000 new workers -- or roughly 10 percent of the entire federal workforce -- and then refused to retract the story in the face of widespread and justified mockery.
Interrupting the president mid-speech is considered a serious breach of etiquette, and Obama's reaction shows how peeved (and probably taken aback) he was. Munro, and the Daily Caller, have immediately come in for harsh criticism by a wide range of journalists, including conservative ones. The problem isn't that Munro was asking tough questions; it's that he interrupted the commander-in-chief to ask them and in doing so guaranteed that none of the assembled press would be able to ask any serious questions -- since it's fairly clear that Munro's query was intended as provocation.
The heckler, who challenged the president about how unemployed Americans could be affected, visibly upset the president, who said: "This is the right thing to do for the American people."You can get a sense of the outrage from the reporters whose day got screwed by Munro over at The Washington Post.
When interrupted by the heckler again, Obama got heated, saying: "It's not time for questions, not while I'm speaking," and "I didn't ask for an argument."
Before walking out of the Rose Garden, the heckler yelled out that he was an immigrant himself.
Oh, but wait! The best part is that Carlson and Munro are unrepentant and unapologetic, claiming in their statement that Munro thought he had timed his question for the end of Obama's remarks!
Neil Munro, White House Correspondent: “I always go to the White House prepared with questions for our president. I timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally I have no intention of interrupting the President of the United States. I know he rarely takes questions before walking away from the podium. When I asked the question as he finished his speech, he turned his back on the many reporters, and walked away while I and at least one other reporter asked questions.”Go ahead and watch the video. As you can see, Munro chirps up well before there's any indication that Obama has wrapped up -- and indeed, does it while Obama is in mid-sentence!
Tucker Carlson, Editor-in-Chief: “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.”
Neil Patel, Publisher: “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.”
Actually, it's being generous to presume that Munro was simply being incompetent. This looks like the typical kind of provocation we've come to expect from right-wing propagandists posing as real reporters.