Watch as the president, for the second time in his term in office, is interrupted in the middle of giving a speech like no other president has ever been interrupted before.
First it was Joe Wilson (R-SC) who screamed, “YOU LIE!” at Obama during Obama’s State of the Union address. That had never happened in the recorded history of this country. And, it wasn’t like those “Code Pink” idiots who interrupt Republican politicians during speeches. Let me repeat: Code Pink are a bunch of assholes for the way they go about getting their message into the media. Those are extreme activists. They’re a part of a vast, unsupported minority.
But, when Obama was interrupted during his SotU, that was a sitting member of the United States House of Representatives screaming at the president. It wasn’t some fringe group. It was an officially elected member of the Republican establishment. Sure, he apologized afterwards, but then he went and raised money off of what he did. He raised money off of his disrespect for the president. That’s how sorry he really was.
And now, a few years later, we have another first. Another time the president is interrupted in the middle of a speech. This time, it wasn’t a member of Congress, but it also wasn’t a member of Code Pink or the Tea Party or PETA. It was a “professional reporter” for the hyper-conservative blog “The Daily Caller.” His name is Neil Munro, and he is a professional member of the conservative media. He gets paid to report things that conservatives want to be told. He was given a pass to have the ability to cover the president’s speech, and he used that privilege to disrespect the president by interrupting him mid-speech, just like Joe Wilson did.
(While I was writing this, Munro and the Daily Caller published a reaction to this mess. My updated reaction is on the bottom.)
Whether or not Wilson or Munro are factually correct in their assertions is irrelevant. They may be, but as a politician and a media member respectively, they have to know that the way to disagree is not to be disrespectful. But they seemingly don’t think this president is deserving of the same kind of respect the last 43 presidents have received (I wonder what’s different about this one…?) This is pure disrespect, and it’s not coming from extremist groups who hold up signs at rallies of less than a hundred people. It’s not coming from idiots on Twitter who aren’t educated or civilized enough to form a coherent thought.* It’s coming directly from the conservative establishment. It’s coming directly from the people who are professional representatives of conservatism.
And conservatives have the gall to claim that it is the president who is dividing the country? It’s the elected representatives and the paid professionals of the “right” who are setting the example for inappropriate and disrespectful behavior.
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Mark Levin do nothing but trash the president all day on their radio shows. And you know what? That’s fine. That’s fair game. But, it also sets the stage for these kinds of outbursts which have heretofore not been seen in American politics. One side of the argument is dragging the American media and politics further into the gutter, and it’s people like Joe Wilson and Neil Munro.
They’re a disgrace to America.
Update: Munro and the Daily Caller have published their reaction, and needless to say, it’s laughable. From Munro: ““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.”
Watch that video again. There is no way you think Obama is finished, especially given the way Obama speaks. He constantly pauses for effect (and likely to gather his thoughts). And even if he did think Obama was finished, Munro interrupted consistently afterwards. It wasn’t a one time, “Oops, thought you were done. Sorry,” kind of interaction. It was a repeated interruption, so much so that Obama had to remind Munro once that it wasn’t time for questions, and then AGAIN that it wasn’t time for an argument in the middle of the president’s speech. To say he had no intention of interrupting the president is laughable, to say the least.
Then there’s Tucker Carlson’s point about Sam Donaldson and Ronald Reagan. Watch the difference here.
Reagan was CLEARLY done. How do we know? Because he said he was going to let someone else (AG Meese) take the podium. That’s what people do when they’ve finished with their remarks. Compare that to Obama, who had simply paused for a moment. For Carlson to even attempt to create an equivalency here is preposterous. Rather than own their mistake and apologize, they’ll double down on it. Why? Because the conservative media has created such a toxic atmosphere for this president that they know they’ll be able to make more money out of insulting him than being respectful. And insulting him to his face? Even better. Pretty soon, just like Joe Wilson, they’ll be selling t-shirts and raising cash. Just pathetic.