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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/22/12

From "Racist," To "Dick," To Heckling: How The Press Treats Obama

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Cross-posted from Media Matters


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Neil Munro's infamously brazen and boorish act of disrespect last week at the White House represented an eruption of  frustration that's been building within the right-wing media during Obama's time was president. That a partisan, political player from the Daily Caller would shout angry comments at the president, interrupting him while he gave a formal statement in the Rose Garden, was simultaneously shocking and quite predictable.

Shocking because the behavior was more akin to Nixonian rat f*cking than it was to journalism.

Predictable though, because the GOP Noise Machine has for years depicted Obama as a lowly, un-American dictator/criminal; as someone unworthy of respect, which is exactly how Munro treated him. The only difference was that instead of doing that in the hothouse confines of Daily Caller's website where openly hating Obama in the expected norm, Munro lashed out in a very public setting.

Unfortunately, the casual tone of Oval Office disrespect that's become a hallmark of the right-wing media has found some pockets of acceptance, and even imitation, within the mainstream press. Yes, the press universally condemned the Daily Caller's classless attempt to upstage the president mid-sentence. But you can spot mainstream bouts of derogatory chatter that would have been unlikely when a Republican was in the White House. (Yes, it was Time's Mark Halperin who called Obama a "dick" on national television.)

Much like with the Clinton presidency, there has been a consuming effort by the conservative media (and the Republican Party) to delegitimize the current Democratic presidency. The difference this time, thanks to the shifting media landscape, is that right-wing name-calling has been ramped up and a runaway lack of civility is now worn like a  badge of conservative honor.

Recall that following Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address, conservative media players responded to the president's policy-heavy speech by calling him  a "grating," "flippant," "arrogant" "jerk" who's "cocky"  and can't hide his "fake sincerity."

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