In the fathomless annals of America’s Clod Culture we have a new hero — to the Anything That Grabs Your Attention crowd — and fool du jour to everyone else who long ago maxed out on People Who Never Were Welcome, Much Less Outlived It.
I refer to the so-called “White House heckler”, real name, Neil Munro, some sort of reporter for Tucker Carlson’s conservative bleat sheet, The Daily Caller. The occasion was President Obama’s announcement that he’d had enough of the Senate obstructing every conceivable tweak and modification of immigration reform and was unilaterally stopping deportations of children in the United States as a result of their parents “illegal” immigration. This idea — fostered by radical liberals like George W. Bush and Orrin Hatch as a step toward, you know, solving a problem as opposed to playing politics with every goddam wheel and gear of the government — was anything but audacious.
Nevertheless, Munro (a foreign national here on a green card) interrupted Obama several times demanding to know why he was so intent on stocking the job rolls with immigrants as opposed to do something to help American workers. (Just a reminder. Obama — and Bush and Hatch — were focused on young people who, attended public schools, perhaps entered military service and might be given a job — thereby paying taxes — by free enterprise job creators). It was — purely and simply — a moment of publicity-seeking, self-aggrandizing boorishness, along the lines of your average fart and boob-obsessed morning zoo radio show’s “correspondent” hectoring the mayor at a ribbon cutting.
In the realm of pigs flying, even FoxNews, (Chris Wallace, at least) which has had its problems achieving a level of credibility with this administration, criticized Munro. But not Carlson, Munro’s boss, who compared his boy’s aggressive questioning to the Grand Vizier of bellowed questioning, ABC’s Sam Donaldson. Donaldson is legendary for shouting questions at Presidents, notably hard-of-hearing Ronald Reagan, when they had no intention of taking questions. … but not during formal statements. Donaldson accepted a minimal level of protocol.
(The all-time Donaldson classic was when Ronnie was ambling back into the White House after landing in the official chopper. Knowing that Reagan wasn’t going to answer anything about anything, Donaldson yelled, “Mr. President a study says 90% of American men play with themselves in the shower and the other 10% are lying. Which are you?” To which Reagan cupped his ear as though to suggest he couldn’t hear so well, smiled and made a gesture suggesting he was in “the other” group.)
Anyway, Donaldson was not at all pleased with being used by Carlson as a precedent for Munro’s clod-burst. When asked to comment Donaldson fired back:
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 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.
The Munro “heckling”incident of course pales in comparison to South Carolina Cong. Joe “You Lie!” Wilson’s outburst during Obama’s address to a joint session of congress … a cloddish apogee that earned him a windfall of contributions from America’s clod worshippers.
The overworked, threadbare rationale for most of the cloddish rhetoric on shock jock radio and America’s unreflective, unrepentant Tea Party right is that nothing they could ever say compares to the fascistic burden they assert that they suffer under from liberal “political correctness”. Their semi-literate, invariably factually erroneous bleating and loud public gas-passing is an antidote to … well, take your pick, soda pop-banning “nanny staters”, “enviro-Nazis” restricting chemical runoff into rivers, yadda yadda.
Where this perpetually aggrieved crowd of disrespected bad boys/real Americans struggle is ginning up comparable examples of boorishness from the mainstream press/tools of the overbearing liberal monolith. Even during the George W./Dick Cheney reign of error and cronyism, amid an unnecessary trillion dollar war, out of control spending and non-existent oversight of Wall St., no “aggressive” reporter heckled one of their (brief) formal statements. (If only someone had during W.’s notorious March 6, 2003 press conference).
Clod warfare — defined as boorishness mixed with factual illiteracy — is a uniquely anti-liberal phenomenon, an offensive against logic and civility.