06.19.2012 0

The new Munro doctrine

NRD Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared at TheHill.com.

Neil Munro at Obama press conferenceBy Rick Manning — Sam Donaldson would be rolling over in his grave if he weren’t still alive. The foghorn-voiced broadcaster who boomed questions after fleeing presidents never shied away from asking the tough ones.

What a difference a generation makes.

The penned White House media have allowed this administration to turn them into props representing the Fourth Estate without actually acting like it.

Neil Munro might have changed all that.

Munro is the Daily Caller reporter who had the audacity to ask President Obama a question related to his unilateral, extra-constitutional decision to effectively stop enforcing the nation’s immigration laws against a portion of the illegal immigrant community.

Munro’s question, while admittedly ill-timed, was pertinent and worthy of the White House press corps tradition. Munro asked, “Why do you favor foreigners over Americans?”

Subsequently, the lapdogs of the media have excoriated Munro for “heckling” and “daring” to ask a question.

The Daily Caller reporter, with whom I have worked on stories in the past, did not heckle the president — he did his job.

Obama is notorious for making sweeping pronouncements in front of the White House press corps and then walking away without answering questions. In effect leaving the hard work of explaining the consequences to his press secretary, who actually deigns to answer media inquiries.

The real story of “outrage” over a reporter attempting to ask Obama an unscripted question should be over how far the White House press corps has fallen.

They are now on a peer-to-peer relationship with the press secretary, and asking/demanding that the president answer questions on a major policy decision announcement that has far-reaching political, legal and constitutional ramifications is deemed to be rude and out of place.

Ironically, this all occurred in the same week that The Washington Post has been busily celebrating 40 years after Watergate, all the while never noticing that they have ceased to be anything more than the defenders of the Democratic Party establishment in the intervening years.

While I am confident that the press corps will be much less docile during a Romney administration, and that we will see papers like the Post suddenly wake up to their responsibilities, it is sad that it took a single reporter standing up and asking a simple question to show just how far the once-esteemed media has slipped.

In honor of that reporter, there should be a new internal policy in the press corps called the Munro Doctrine, which states that no president shall stand before the media making a policy speech and refuse to take questions.

After all, if the president is not taking questions, then the event is nothing more than a photo-op that is more suitable for the presidential campaign press corps than their colleagues at the White House.

Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.

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