It’s time once again for The Future American’s FAIL OF THE WEEK! Every Saturday, I name a person or group who has spent the past seven days behaving in a particularly idiotic way. Since it’s my belief that idiocy knows no politics, nobody is safe.
This week’s fail was brought to you by Neil Munro of The Daily Caller. By now many of you have heard something about President Obama being “heckled” at a press conference he held to announce a contentious move to allow thousands of illegal immigrants who arrived as young children to apply for temporary legal status. It’s the sort of thing any reporter worth their salt would want to ask questions about. Unfortunately, Munro forgot a Journalism 101 lesson about press conferences: It’s time to ask questions when the speaker says so, and not before. In the interests of fairness, you may also read statements from Munro and the Daily Caller explaining all this.
Our first point of discussion is Munro’s assertion that he “timed the question believing the president was closing his remarks, because naturally [he has] no intention of interrupting the President of the United States.” The sentence Obama spoke before Munro began asking his question did have a tone of finality do it, I will admit, but anyone who has watched an Obama speech before knows he never concludes without saying “Thank you” or asking for questions outright. Munro’s claim to innocence is nullified by the fact that he continued his question after Obama told him it wasn’t time yet. Lint in the ear, maybe?
Second, the phrasing of the question: “Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?” The worst way to ask a question when you’re a journalist is an accusatory way. If that’s what you believe Obama is doing, you can lessen your risk of bad PR by prefacing the question with “How do you respond to people who ask . . . ?” This phrasing made Munro sound less like a reporter than an agenda-pusher.
Third, sparring with Obama when it actually was question time. Nobody likes a good debate more than I do, but a scrum is not the place for one. Anyone who ever criticized Helen Thomas when she was in the White House press pool should be well aware of that. A one-on-one interview, maybe, and only when you’re hired to present a certain political perspective to an audience. Munro’s title is “White House correspondent”; he was not hired to present a certain perspective.
I personally dislike the fact that Obama is forcing the essence of his DREAM Act down everyone’s throats. If Munro had not spoken out of turn, that might be the way this story was framed in yesterday’s news cycle.