THE IRISH-BORN journalist who caused controversy yesterday when he interrupted US president Barack Obama during a speech on immigration has said the focus on him is “ridiculous”.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie last night, Neil Munro – who was born, raised and educated in Ireland – said that he asked a “conventional, obvious question” during yesterday’s White House Rose Garden press conference.
But he caused controversy in Washington circles when he interrupted Obama mid-speech to ask him: “Why’d you favour foreigners over Americans?”
A visibly annoyed Obama responded that it was not time for questions and later addressed Munro’s point by saying that the decision to stop deporting the children of illegal immigrants was “the right thing to do for the American people.”
As he walked away from the podium, Munro shouted: “What about American workers who are unemployed, while you employ foreigners?”
In an email to TheJournal.ie, Munro said:
It is ridiculous for reporters to focus on a reporter who asks a conventional, obvious question. Farmers don’t fuss over a farmer who milked the cows, and welders don’t talk about welders who have welded something.
Munro’s path from Gonzaga College in Dublin to being the White House correspondent for The Daily Caller is an interesting one.
Munro confronts US Attorney General Eric Holder following a press conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across from the White House last November (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
The former UCD student said that his interest in writing started with an archivist job at an Irish government funded magazine near Clonskeagh in the early 1980s.
“The magazine was called ‘Strategy & Defence’. They hired me because I could tell the difference between an F-15 and an F-15E, and between a Hotel class submarine and a Whiskey class submarine,” he explained.
“That eventually led me to the United States where I got a job at National Journal in 1999 or so. There, I did a few good articles about stem-cells, the Tea Party, transsexuals, and Islam.
After eleven years at the National Journal, Munro moved to Washington DC where he became White House correspondent for The Daily Caller where he says he writes “for Americans outside the beltway.”
“Indirectly, they gave me a Green Card, so I should repay them,” he added.
Though he works in the States, Munro did have a close encounter with our own leader – not quite as confrontational as his one with the US President yesterday – when Taoiseach Enda Kenny visited the White House for St Patrick’s Day last March.
He recalled the meeting: “I was racking my brains to think of a question that would be amusing for our readers but that would not embarrass him. He turned around, shook my hand and said hello. I mumbled a response.”