On Thursday National Journal‘s George Condon took issue with our writeup of Bloomberg‘s Hans Nichols shouting out a question out of turn at the end of the White House presser with President Obama earlier in the week. We said Hans pulled a “Neil Munro,” as in the heckler who interrupted Obama in the Rose Garden in June, knowing full well he was asking a question out of the realm of Wednesday’s protocol. Condon, among others such as NYT‘s Peter Baker, argued Hans was well within his grounds to shout-out a question at the close of the presser. They asserted that it’s tradition for reporters to push and try to extend a press conference longer than the President and his aides may allow.
Fair enough. But Munro, who was largely shunned and criticized by colleagues after his incident, had another take on the matter…“George is partly right. My timing was worse than Hans’ timing,” Munro wrote FishbowlDC. “But the underlying comparison holds. Hans and I pushed for an answer when the President didn’t want to give an answer. Most of the time, most of us sit on our hands while the President — or his spokesman — controls his events by picking his questioners, or by not taking questions. That’s a great precedent for the White House and for favored media outlets, but a terrible precedent for the news business and for citizens.”