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Posted by on Jun 16, 2012 in Media, Politics | 2 comments

Sam Donaldson: Don’t Compare Me With Reporter That Interrupted Obama

As I’ve note here on TMV and on my Twitter account, when a Daily Caller reporter interrupted President Barack Obama in the middle of his statement on his administration’s immigration policy change, it was unprecedented. Never has happened like this. Forget the spin. And — most of all — discount The Daily Caller owner Tucker Carlson’s comparison to Sam Donaldson shouting question at Ronald Reagan after — repeat — after a Presidential statement or when Reagan was walking to a helicopter.

But in the scheme of our politics, some (NOT all) of those who are on the same side as Carlson’s and the reporter’s political sports team need to defend what happened, spin it, raise other issues except the central one: this has NOT happened and real reporters and professional members of the White House press corps no matter what their publication or views would never do it.

Or condone it.

To confirm this, read what someone else has to say about it: Sam Donaldson. Who knew Tucker Carlson. And who is not happy at the comparison and said it’s a bunch of this. Here’s what Donaldson said to the Huffington Post:

But Donaldson, remembered for his aggressive questioning during the Reagan years and for sparring with White House press secretaries as an ABC News correspondent, rejected the comparison to Munro.

“I like Tucker (let all flowers bloom) but I really resent his trying to tie his reporter’s actions to mine,” Donaldson wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “He knows better.”

In the email, Donaldson continued:

Never once did I interrupt a president in any way while he was making a formal statement, a speech, honoring awardees or in any other way holding the floor. Yes, almost always when he was finished in the Rose Garden or in the Briefing Room or at a photo opportunity with other world leaders I tried to question him (only rarely was it a shout on the rope line, more often a more normal tone of voice) and other reporters of course did the same thing along with me.

What this man did yesterday is something new, to me wrong and unusual. I think it is probably the result of the growing incivility of the times, the competition among reporters and news organizations to be noticed not only for the work product but for the theatrics of the gathering…and there is one more factor, let’s face it: Many on the political right believe this president ought not to be there – they oppose him not for his polices and political view but for who he is, an African American! These people and perhaps even certain news organizations (certainly the right wing talkers like Limbaugh) encourage disrespect for this president. That is both regrettable and adds, in this case, to the general dislike of the press on the part of the general public.

For Tucker Carlson to say that he would if he can give this man a raise for this rude attempt to interrupt the president is reflective of what I’ve said above and, to me, lowers my opinion of Tucker.

But don’t expect this to stop the display of what is so wrong with 21st century politics: how when the bar is lowered some partisans will defend it, try to deflect or deny what happened, change the subject and keep the bar that low — and then lower it again.

Anything to advance their political sports team’s cause.

FOOTNOTE: It’s important to remember that all Republicans have NOT tried to pretend this is a merely a case of being a good tough journalist (it is not) or of mistakenly interrupting the President because it seemed like Obama was through (watch the video and read one of the retweets on my Twitter account from a reporter who was sitting there when it happened who said no way was this not intentional or was there any doubt that Obama was not finished). GO HERE.

UPDATE: Read this Politico post about conservative bloggers reacting to The Daily Caller’s reporters’ interruption and after page one you’ll see how they keep bringing up Donaldson, even though many of them are not condoning interrupting Obama mid-statement.

But isn’t it clear by now? Donaldson would NEVER DO what this guy did. And, again, if you don’t believe me, read Donaldson above (hey, but facts don’t matter only ideological narratives do, right?). The issue here is not about a reporter being courageous and asking a tough question; it’s about someone who calls himself a reporter being boorish (kindly go back and watch the link on the Fox News post, but they they are all probably members of the liberal media, right?) and doing what the professional, repectable, serious, authentic members of the White House press corps of all political inclinations would never do. Doing what you would never see a John Amato do to a Republican President mid-statement ort an Ed Morrissey do to a Democratic President. It hasn’t been done. It was a lowering of the bar.


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