As Obama stood in the White House Rose Garden and outlined the plan, Neil Munro, a reporter with a conservative website, shouted, "Why do you favor foreigners over American workers?" Based on his colleagues' reaction, one would have thought he'd thrown a shoe at the President. Reporters and pundits called him unprofessional, rude and even racist for interrupting Obama.
Never mind Munro asked a legitimate question -- one that probably wouldn't have even occurred to amnesty-supporting media: Will this harm the job prospects for struggling young American citizens? (Nor has anyone had the chance to ask Obama why, only a year ago, he told a Univision audience that he lacked the power to suspend student deportations via an executive order.)
Munro, for his part, claims he assumed the President had concluded and wanted to get in his question. Obama holds few press conferences, a matter of frustration to the White House press corp. When a president restricts access to the press, the newshounds grow restless and become more aggressive -- at least they should.
In a 1987 article titled, "Why Do Grown Men and Women Shout at President Reagan?" The Associate Press wrote: "They do it for a living ... shouting, badgering Reagan for one last word. It even takes place at ceremonies (including) the Rose Garden. ... They ... blame ... Reagan and his aides, who have sharply curtailed opportunities for the press corps to engage the President under more civil circumstances." Longtime White House correspondent-turned-columnist Helen Thomas often crossed the line when giving commentary that only masqueraded as inquiry. When "questioning" President George W. Bush, Thomas made it clear she opposed the Iraq War and accused President George W. Bush of starting "a war for oil."
In Munro's case, MSNBC contributor Julian Epstein asked: "Would the right wing be doing this if we had a white president there? ... We've never had a president heckled so disrespectfully. We've never had this otherness afforded to any other president. And I think the right wing is going to have some explaining to do, because to me, it seems patently obvious."