Every U.S. president has endured hecklers, harsh criticism and crude jokes at their expense. But in light of Friday’s incident in the Rose Garden, where Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro shouted questions at Obama as he was trying to explain his new immigration policy, Michael Eric Dyson was compelled to ask The Ed Show audience: is this part of a larger issue?
Citing several recent incidents, including Jan Brewer wagging her finger in the president’s face, racially-tinged language from the Tea Party, and Congressman Joe Wilson screaming "you lie" in the middle of a health care address, Dyson asked Politico’s Joe Williams if this is just plain old disrespect, or if these types of episodes have even more disturbing roots.
“I’ve got to ask the question here,” Dyson said. “Does this have anything to do with the fact that this is the nation’s first black president and the level of disrespect is alarming and stunning?”
Williams said he’s concerned about the pattern he sees unfolding:
“It’s very difficult to place race outside of this context. Mostly because a lot of the interruptions, a lot of the disrespect has been unprecedented. We haven’t seen anything like this before. A lot of people will suggest that it’s because the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that they’re willing to do things that were unthinkable. But certainly in my experience, it’s hard to divorce that because this president doesn’t look like the others, and not only do we have a lot of these sort of interruptions, and disrespect towards the office, in more than my view. I mean, many people in the Twittersphere and a lot of practicing journalists were aghast at what had happened.”
Daily Caller editor in chief Tucker Carlson defended his reporter, saying Munro was just doing his job. "A reporter’s job is to ask questions and get answers," he said, adding "We're proud of Neil Munro."