Is the Daily Caller reporter's interruption of the president of the United States a sign of the deterioration of civility, the deterioration of the media in general, or the deterioration of respect for the office of the presidency?
All three of them, unfortunately. A reporter for the conservative website interrupted the president while he was giving a statement at the White House about immigration. The reporter, identified as Neil Munro, asked Obama why his policy favored "foreigners over American workers."
Where to start, with the infractions committed here? First of all, that's not really a question. It's an advocacy statement, and a misinformed one at that. Obama was announcing his decision not to enforce deportation efforts against certain, young undocumented immigrants who were brought here by their parents and hardly accountable for the fact that they are technically here illegally. And Munro might have learned more about the new policy if he had actually allowed the president to finish what he was saying.
And on what planet is it OK to interrupt the president of the United States? This is not aggressive journalism. It's bad manners and representative of egregiously low respect not only for the president but the office of the presidency. It's also clinically self-centered, since surely the reporter was not expecting an answer. He just wanted to play the role of the reporter willing to take on a powerful person. There was no motive here of getting at a critical truth for the reader. The motive was all about being aggressive and obnoxious for its own self-promoting sake.
Many people, in our increasingly ill-mannered world, have simply lost the ability to distinguish between speaking truth to power and just being a jerk. And unfortunately, being rude and being a jerk gets a lot of people attention in the media. The fact that the perpetrators are benefiting from negative attention doesn't even seem to bother them, and that's even more pathetic.
There's something also more serious going on here, and that is the apparent view by some conservatives that Obama somehow isn't really president, or isn't a legitimate president, and therefore does not deserve the basic considerations given to someone who has such a massive task in front of him, regardless of how much the disrespect damages the nation. So the Senate will hold up nominations for individuals named to run programs Congress passed but which the Republicans don't want. Or, they'll even hold up nominations for things like U.S. marshals, just to frustrate Obama's presidency (and so they can later accuse him of having "failed" at programs they did everything to thwart). Or a U.S. congressman yells out "you lie!" during a presidential address.
The "reporter" from the Daily Caller was even worse, since his infraction was not only indisputably ill-mannered, but entirely about him, the reporter. If he wants to be just another jerk, he's welcome to be one. But don't gussy it up under the guise of defending free speech. There's not a First Amendment right to being a buffoon.
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