I eyed the words suspiciously and dimly. “Donald Trump kicked a reporter out of a press conference?” I asked myself. Trump’s feud with Univision is well known and I, like so many, immediately presumed that the feud was central to Trump’s action.
“He’s lost it,” I conceded. Throwing a reporter out of his press conference is practically unforgiveable. After 6 long years of President Obama waging war against a free press, I was dismayed to discover that, seemingly, Trump had succumbed to the same tactics as Obama.
Looking further into it, however, I watched the video of the altercation and Trump handled himself with a tough but dignified posture in the face of a “journalist” who, seemingly, felt it was appropriate to stand and begin shouting, despite not having been given “the floor.”
As Trump called on a reporter, Ramos stood and began shouting and trying to begin a dialogue. Trump reminded, “Excuse me, you weren’t called. Sit down.” Trump again tried to select the reporter he called-on, but Ramos persisted and insisted that he had a right to question Trump. “I’m a reporter, an immigrant, a senior citizen,” he said. “I have the right to ask a question.”
Trump rebutted that Ramos had not been called-on. After offering Ramos endless chances to sit down and behave in a respectful manner, security approached Ramos and escorted him from the press event.
Following questions centered on why Ramos had been escorted out and Trump reminded the press that it was Ramos that had stood and began shouting and that he had not escorted him out, but that security had and that Trump didn’t mind if Ramos returned.
Soon, Ramos was allowed to return and the billionaire called upon the obnoxious “journalist.” The two tussled for minutes afterwards as Ramos debated Trump on his stance on immigration.
Immediately, I felt shame for having bought-into the media narrative without knowing the facts. Once again, it was a “media vs. Trump” showdown- a fight picked and augmented by a member of the press to stir-up drama in a race that has already seen much of it.
Ramos took to Twitter to vent, insisting,
“I’m a reporter. My job is to ask questions. What’s “totally out of line” is to eject a reporter from a press conference for asking questions.”
Of course, Ramos refuses to admit his culpability in breaching the very basics of journalistic courtesies. Standing to shout one’s questions is not only an insult to Trump, but an insult to every single journalist in the room who played by the universal rules of press conferences.
If we compare the media’s reaction to Ramos’ outburst to the mistake made by Neil Munro years prior, we see a clear bias. Munro, a Daily Caller reporter, was present in the Rose Garden as Obama announced his first wave of executive amnesty in June of 2012. As Obama took a long pause, Munro miscalculated and believed it to be the end of the announcement and asked a question.
“Why’d you favor foreigners over Americans?” Munro questioned.
“Excuse me, sir, but it’s not time for questions,” Obama responded.
“Are you going to take questions?” Munro asked.
“Not while I’m speaking.” Obama scolded.
The media was merciless. They called Munro’s questioning a “heckling” and insisted that his questioning was disrespectful. Munro admitted he had made a miscalculation, but noted that the president has a history of scurrying off to avoid questions and only the truly aggressive can get a word in.
Still, the media skewered their own, but Ramos’ minute-long interruption has been given a pass and Trump has emerged as the resident hothead.
Yes, it is true that Trump has little patience for nonsense. However, the goal of journalists should be to ask questions and report news. The goal of paparazzi is to antagonize. Perhaps Mr. Ramos would be much better suited for a job at TMZ because he seems woefully ill-prepared for a career in legitimate media as his behavior was downright shameful.
As appalling as Ramos’ behavior was, the media’s complete unwillingness to denounce Ramos’ actions is the most shameful aspect of this story.