In Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Alter’s new book, he accuses The Daily Caller‘s Neil Munro of having “racial animus” toward President Obama. He also refers to him as “a reporter.”
Alter’s allegation comes after he makes a similar claim of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. “Limbaugh was only the most public face of racial animus toward Obama,” Alter writes in The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. “When Neil Munro a ‘reporter’ for the Daily Caller, used a day pass at the White House to shout at the president in the Rose Garden while he was speaking, it offended the veteran reporter Sam Donaldson.”
The Daily Caller‘s Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson, also a weekend co-host of Fox & Friends, took a shot at Alter concerning what he wrote about his reporter. He told FishbowlDC this afternoon, “Alter stopped practicing journalism a long time ago, when he went to work as a courtier for the president,” he said. “He’s been sniffing Obama’s throne and churning out propaganda on his behalf for five years. No wonder he’s offended when an actual reporter dares to ask his boss a question. Nor is it surprising that he mistakes journalism for racism. When you worship a politician like a god, all dissent looks like bigotry.”
Munro memorably interrupted a statement Obama was delivering on immigration policy last summer. “Why’d you favor foreigners over Americans?” Munro barked at Obama in the middle of his comments.
Donaldson, a former White House correspondent for ABC News, made a name for himself yelling questions out at past presidents. At the time, Carlson defended Munro by comparing him to Donaldson.
The well-known newsman wasn’t pleased about that.
“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,” Donaldson told HuffPost last year, rejecting the comparison.
Asked by FishbowlDC to comment on Alter’s accusation, Munro asked to see the passage of the book but hasn’t followed up on it. We’ve also reached out to Alter for comment on why he called Munro a “reporter” with quotes and what proof he has that Munro has any “racial animus” against the President
Update: Alter emailed FishbowlDC:
“I didn’t say Munro had a racial animus, i wrote that his outburst prompted Sam Donaldson to call out those who do. Quite a difference.
“I did use quotes around Munro because he failed to apologize for his unreporter-like outburst, which was more reflective of a political activist or maybe a rude pundit than a classically defined straight news reporter like the other in the White House press corps that day.”
Update No. 2: Apparently it’s “Provide Comment Only After the Story Has Been Published” Day! Munro finally got back to us, as well:
“If Alter wants to brings race into the issue, I should point out to him that unemployment is higher among African-Americans than among other Americans.
“I asked my question when I mistakenly thought that the president was about to walk away from the podium.
“A long time ago, liberals would have wanted to get an answer. Even the younger Alter would have liked to get the answer.
“P.S. If we follow Alter’s cracked racial logic, we should believe that conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh would deride a successful conservative black president because of his race. But if there was a popular conservative black president in the White House, millions of conservatives would gleefully mention the president’s race whenever they argued with progressives.”
It’s worth noting that Alter has history with Carlson. Both of them got into a near-brawl while attending the Democratic National Convention last year. While no one was physically harmed in the shout-fest, there may be residual animus.