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Past And Present White House Correspondents' Association Presidents Criticize "Discourteous" And "Rude" Daily Caller Reporter

June 15, 2012 5:35 pm ET by Joe Strupp

The president of the White House Correspondents Association criticized Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro for repeatedly interrupting President Obama today during an event, calling it "discourteous" and "not the way reporters who cover the White House conduct themselves."

Caren Bohan, a Reuters White House correspondent and current WHCA president, made the comments in a phone interview with Media Matters this afternoon.

"It was discourteous and it's not the way reporters who cover the White House conduct themselves," Bohan said in the interview. "I've covered a number of events where the president has spoken and there are times when we need to shout a question to him. But typically reporters wait until he has finished speaking."

Bohan also said that Munro is an associate member of the WHCA, not a regular member.

According to the WHCA website, an associate member "must be employed on the editorial staff of a newspaper, magazine, wire service, radio, TV, cable TV or other broadcast organization or newsgathering organization that reports on the White House. Associate members may not vote or hold elective office."

Asked if Munro's membership would be affected by this incident, Bohan said such decisions are up to the WHCA executive board.

Three former WHCA presidents, meanwhile, also weighed in on the situation.

Ed Chen, a former Bloomberg White House correspondent and WHCA president during the 2009-2010 term, said in an email that Munro: "Betrays a shocking disrespect for the office. He owes the president a written apology." Chen also described it as "Rude. Forgot the manners he must have been taught once upon a time."

Ron Hutcheson, a former McClatchy White House correspondent and WHCA president in 2004-2005, stated: "Aggressive journalism serves our democracy. Rudeness serves no useful purpose. This was rudeness."

C-SPAN host and political editor Steve Scully, a former WHCA board member and former president, told Media Matters that Munro's actions were unusual.

"Anytime the president is delivering remarks from The White House, there has been a long standing tradition for the POTUS to make his statements, almost always followed by questions by the press corps," Scully said in an email. "It was indeed unusual for the president to be interrupted by a reporter during the middle of his remarks and clearly it caught President Obama off-guard, simply because it doesn't happen that often."

Steve Thomma, a current McClatchy White House correspondent who has been on the beat since the Clinton administration, called Munro's behavior "counterproductive."

"I think it's possible to be civil and persistent, they don't have to be mutually exclusive. You don't have to yell. There is nothing wrong with asking a question, but there is nothing wrong with waiting until the president finishes a statement," he said. "It seems counterproductive. If you are really trying to get an answer, you can wait. He might have answered it. I would not interrupt the president's statement to ask a question."




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    • Author by highlyunlikely (June 15, 2012 5:48 pm ET)
      8  
      "If you are really trying to get an answer you can wait." Sure, if you are really trying to get an answer. This guy clearly was about creating a scene, and he got it. The absolute value of negative attention is attention, you know.

      That this place, after lurching along for the past 2 days, hasn't crashed yet is nothing short of miraculous.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by magnolialover (June 15, 2012 6:43 pm ET)
        5  
        Yep, true. This guy was looking for attention, and this was the way to get it. Although, it might just get him kicked out of the WH Press Corps for awhile, which of course, will also garner him attention no doubt.

        Obama, trying to shut down the free press and all.

        This is just common sense, as in, hey, jerk, stop being rude, sit down, listen to the comments, and THEN you'll get to ask questions. It's really not that hard to figure out.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by Martha (June 15, 2012 6:01 pm ET)
      7 1

      C-SPAN host and political editor Steve Scully, a former WHCA board member and former president, told Media Matters that Munro's actions were unusual.

      "It was indeed unusual for the president to be interrupted by a reporter during the middle of his remarks and clearly it caught President Obama off-guard, simply because it doesn't happen that often."
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      "Unusual"????

      This has NEVER happened before...that POTUS was ...repeatedly.... yelled questions at ...even AFTER he TOLD the "reporter" that he was speaking and he was not taking questions AND told this reporter that he WAS interrupting.....but the reporter kept it up!!

      Just as no POTUS has ever been shouted at during a State of the Union speech......these white racists have no respect for the office of POTUS because this POTUS is black...it is as simple as that.

      Can you IMAGINE what would have happened if this were GW???....the reporter would be in GITMO by now because Cheney would have deemed it some kind of national security problem!
      Report Abuse
      • Author by Unibrowser (June 16, 2012 7:27 pm ET)
          1
        Just because somebody is rude doesn't make them a racist. You can be stupid and still not a racist.
        The term racist gets thrown around so much that it has lost its true effect, to point out real racist.
        You do not know what is in the man's heart anymore than I can tell what's in your's. Chill, Presidents get yelled at a lot and had worse said about them and to them over the last couple of centuries. Take a deep breath and save yourself for the real battles with real racist without trying to find one under every rock.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by notsure5 (June 18, 2012 10:42 am ET)
          1  
          Presidents get yelled at a lot...
          Ok, then give us an example of any other president getting interrupted by a member of the press while in the middle of a speech. This is not a case of him simply being yelled at, it is several levels more absurd. Yes, maybe the claim of racism is not completely warranted, but where else do you think such disrespect comes from?
          Report Abuse
      • Author by NiceguyEddie (June 18, 2012 2:35 pm ET)
        1  
        1) The President is Black.
        2) The Right Wing have gleefully leapt over the cliffs of insanity, and are now happily rowing along in the sea of delusion, in a boat made of tin-foil hats.

        Neither of these suggest to them that Mister Obama should be treated with any respect at all.

        IOKIYAR, turned up to 11.

        Their arrogance is surpassed only by their ignorance.

        It shames me that I am the citizen of a country where 99% of Republicans can hold onto their seats in congress.

        ------------------------------
        IMHO
        UTOPIA
        POLITICAL SYMMETRY
        Report Abuse
    • Author by pete592 (June 15, 2012 6:20 pm ET)
      8  
      What is it about Obama that has brought out the d-bags among those who have traditionally adhered to common courtesy when the president is speaking?
      Report Abuse
      • Author by magnolialover (June 15, 2012 6:43 pm ET)
        3  
        This little "action" reinforces for me, yet again, that conservatives are jerks, and they can't help it. It's who they are, and it's what they do.
        Report Abuse
      • Author by bullwinkle (June 16, 2012 7:41 am ET)
        3  
        Couple this incident with the recent juvenile prank in which Romney's tour bus circled an Obama speech in Ohio while the driver repeatedly honked his horn.

        The right wing blogs are awash in glee over this stupidly juvenile piece of "campaign theater." It really seems to them to be the height of hilarity and supposedly "showing Obama." They can't get enough of it.

        No doubt they will see the reporter's moves as "aggressive journalism" rather than incredibly boorish behavior in any situation, let alone a Presidential statement.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by Dem02020 (June 15, 2012 6:23 pm ET)
      7  

      Great article, thanks all.

      This punk obviously showed up intending to do what he did, it was calculated and malicious. And key to it is television, as this was a big televised speech, everybody there was very aware of that. What this guy did was more akin to pushing a shaving cream pie into the President's face, than to any breach of professional etiquette or protocol.

      I take this as a sign and warning, of more to come... it's too easy for these people (tucker carlson or his 'sugar daddy' foster friess) to hire and direct hecklers and other paid hooligans and agitators, and the sign and the warning is for the White House and the President's staff, to be more alert and to better screen who it is they allow to attend these type things, as the punk in this case had the means and the motive (live television) and the opportunity to disrupt the press briefing, all by way of some sort of loosely issued credential.

      It was a figurative pie in the face this time, and if the President's staff aren't more careful, it could very well be a real pie in the face next time.

      Report Abuse
      • Author by highlyunlikely (June 15, 2012 6:32 pm ET)
        5  
        Excellent synopsis. Apparently, while Daily Caller is bragging on the incident, the punk himself is claiming he truly believed Obama was finished speaking - even though Obama was mid-sentence - before asking his loaded question, contradicting the position his sponsor has taken.So while we can definitely expect shenanigans to continue if not escalate, the dumb jerk who pulled this particular stunt has probably reached his expiration date.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by bullwinkle (June 16, 2012 7:42 am ET)
          2  
          The Daily Caller is Tucker Carlson's latest piece of useless drivel. Pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the bona fides of the reporter involved.
          Report Abuse
      • Author by Dem02020 (June 15, 2012 6:45 pm ET)
        6  

        As an afterthought, these punks who work for tucker carlson and his kind (who in turn work for foster friess and his kind) might find it a difficult if not impossible trick to sneak the actual ingredients of a cream pie into such a press briefing and into such close proximity to the President, security being what it is...

        But there's little or nothing to keep them from suddenly reaching down and taking off their shoe and hurling it at the President.

        Think that sounds ridiculous?

        These punks are employed in what they do almost for the exclusive reason that they hate President Obama with a maniacal and frothing passion...

        Nothing's too ridiculous and very little is impossible in that context.

        Report Abuse
        • Author by highlyunlikely (June 15, 2012 6:51 pm ET)
          4  
          Nothing's too ridiculous to imagine when reckless juveniles are involved.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by Dem02020 (June 15, 2012 8:06 pm ET)
            8  

            It's not just juveniles, and few if any of them are reckless (they know exactly what they are doing).

            The guy who finances tucker carlson's website, and therefore pays both him and the punk who disrupted the press briefing today, is foster friess, who is the subject of this Los Angeles Times article...

            GOP donor wonders if Obama's 'teleprompters are bullet-proof'

            Not juvenile and not reckless, and not exactly "discourteous" or "rude" as the title to the above item has it.

            Report Abuse
        • Author by Another1 (June 16, 2012 3:11 am ET)
             
          I read comments at the gateway pundit which stated that someone HAD thrown a shoe at Bush during a speech. I doubt it was a reporter, though.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by Johaely (June 16, 2012 12:13 pm ET)
            3  
            As much as i hate agreeing with the imbeciles at Gate pundit, a shoe was thrown at Bush by a reporter. A reporter in Iraq, who did so as protest. He wasn't trying to heckle like Munro, he was trying to insult Bush and that's where the difference lies. The iraqi reporter was angry, Munro was being an asshole.
            Report Abuse
          • Author by Johaely (June 16, 2012 12:13 pm ET)
               
            As much as i hate agreeing with the imbeciles at Gate pundit, a shoe was thrown at Bush by a reporter. A reporter in Iraq, who did so as protest. He wasn't trying to heckle like Munro, he was trying to insult Bush and that's where the difference lies. The iraqi reporter was angry, Munro was being an asshole.
            Report Abuse
        • Author by Chameo (June 16, 2012 11:31 am ET)
          1  
          Interesting you brought up the shoe. Ron Christie, who frequently appears on various MSNBC talkers to represent the conservative viewpoint, tried to draw a parallel about Bush's shoe-ducking incident in Iraq with the president being heckled by a "journalist" in the Rose Garden. When people pointed out that there were a few major differences (like, it wasn't an American journalist, it didn't happen in the U.S., Bush was in a country that has been hostile to the US -- you know, just little details), he continued to insist that it was the EXACT SAME THING -- and that the left thought it was hilarious.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by magnolialover (June 16, 2012 5:49 pm ET)
            1  
            Actually, in the case of the shoe throwing incident, I thought W made a good move to get out of the way.
            Report Abuse
            • Author by notsure5 (June 18, 2012 10:50 am ET)
                 
              And the guy was sentenced to three years in prison. I doubt anything will happen to this guy.
              Report Abuse
      • Author by jonimacaroni1 (June 15, 2012 8:48 pm ET)
        5 1
        Talking about hecklers - did you hear that the Romney bus was circling the Obama event the other day in Ohio, honking its horn?

        Disrespect is all they've got.
        Report Abuse
      • Author by jonimacaroni1 (June 15, 2012 9:11 pm ET)
        2 1
        Talking about hecklers - did you hear that the Romney bus was circling the Obama event the other day in Ohio, honking its horn?

        Disrespect is all they've got.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by politeradical (June 15, 2012 7:15 pm ET)
      5  
      How exactly does a hack wingnut website get White House press credentials?
      Report Abuse
      • Author by blesscurse (June 15, 2012 8:17 pm ET)
        4  
        In Jeff Gannon's case (look it up), it was because he was an Administration stooge/patsy/pawn/prawn/porn. That is not the case here, and I assume his credential will be revoked and he will then write a "best selling" book and go on a national speaking tour about the freedom of the press; and then end up as a commentator on Fox News.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by magnolialover (June 15, 2012 7:17 pm ET)
      5  
      Joan Walsh at Salon termed this event perfectly. Frat boy conservatism...
      Report Abuse
    • Author by jonimacaroni1 (June 15, 2012 8:36 pm ET)
      5 1
      Well, Munro is claiming that he thought Obama was done.

      But if that was the case, after Obama had clearly told him that he wasn't done, he would have STFU.... and he didn't.

      It proves he's a liar and a cad and a rude SOB.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by ThomasJH268 (June 15, 2012 11:06 pm ET)
      3  
      The sad thing is this moron, Munro, is the new hero of conservatives.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by mattcable250650 (June 15, 2012 11:45 pm ET)
      2  
      I wrote to the WHCA and requested that the Daily Caller be removed from the organization.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by grmce (June 16, 2012 2:09 am ET)
      2 1
      Time to add the "Boorish Right" to that CABAL of Rightists dominating the Opposition in the United States:

      A coalition of the Contrarian, Antagonistic, Boorish, Atrocious and Lying that lacks the diversity of Their Lordships Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley and Lauderdale that advised Charles II.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by steeve (June 16, 2012 12:25 pm ET)
      2 1
      Why conservatives feel an uncontrollable urge to publicize their beliefs is beyond me. The exact same opinion they so desperately want aired is already being aired over and over again by others. We can program a computer to return the correct Luntz phrase under stimulus. Everything a conservative has ever thought is fully out there and rejected by reality. We don't need conservatives to talk again, ever.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by notsure5 (June 18, 2012 10:59 am ET)
           
        We can program a computer to return the correct Luntz phrase under stimulus.
        True, but someohow the Romneybot keeps screwing them up.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by MsInformed (June 16, 2012 12:56 pm ET)
      3  
      As Chris Hayes pointed out on his show Saturday morning while that so called 'reporter' shouted out his 'questions', he had both hands in his pockets. No note taking, no recording device, but also no actual question.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by highlyunlikely (June 16, 2012 4:07 pm ET)
        2  
        The expression on the "reporter"'s face was revealing as well. Strictly there for a reaction to his stunt.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by bexwhitt (June 16, 2012 7:17 pm ET)
         
      the quotation marks are against the wrong words "Daily Caller Reporter"
      Report Abuse
    • Author by Unibrowser (June 16, 2012 7:20 pm ET)
        3
      Of course he was rude, and so was Sam Donaldson and a host of others. I don't expect curtesy out of the press, left or right.
      I think the tension is good between power and the media is good and desirable.
      You can look rude or be a hero depending on the point of view.
      All I can say is "Don't drink the Koolaid!"
      Report Abuse