CNN host scolds heckler: Obama’s race is ‘the elephant in the Rose Garden’
CNN host Don Lemon on Sunday suggested that Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro may not have heckled President Barack Obama last week if the commander-in-chief had not been black.
Munro claimed on Friday that he had thought the president had finished delivering an official statement on immigration policy when he began yelling questions in the White House Rose Garden. But as CNN’s Howard Kurtz noted, “[H]e kept on talking while the president was trying to speak.”
“Neil Munro, how dare you?” Lemon asked on Sunday, noting that Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson had defended Munro by saying that former ABC reporter Sam Donaldson had also shouted questions at President Ronald Reagan.
For his part, Donaldson told The Washington Post that he never treated Reagan in the way that Munro had disrespected Obama.
“I never interrupted any president while he was making a formal presentation of any sort,” Donaldson explained.
“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!” the retired correspondent added in an email to The Huffington Post.
On Sunday, Lemon thanked Donaldson for pointing out what he called “the elephant in the Rose Garden.”
“We also respect the office of the presidency just as we respect the courage of a man or a woman who dons a uniform to fight for our country,” Lemon continued. “As a journalist, I know there are ways to get my question answered. It may not always be on the timeline I want, but there is always a way to do it.”
The CNN host concluded: “And, Mr. Munro, interrupting the leader of the free world at the White House in the front of an international audience is not the way. And quite frankly, you are the one who should be asking and answering a whole lot of questions of yourself.”
Watch this video from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast June 17, 2012.