Reporter Sam Husseini gets booted from National Press Club membership for some hostile questions aimed at Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal; he's pissed.
The tough question:
There's been a lot of talk about the legitimacy of the Syrian regime, I want to know what legitimacy your regime has, sir. You come before us, representative of one of the most autocratic, misogynistic regimes on the face of the earth. Human Rights Watch and other reports of torture detention of activist, you squelched the democratic uprising in Bahrain, you tried to overturn the democratic uprising in Egypt, and indeed you continue to oppress your own people. What legitimacy does your regime have — other than billions of dollars and weapons?
The Washington Post on the incident with the Press Club's side:
National Press Club Executive Director William McCarren got involved, pushing Husseini to simply pose his question. That way, other folks in the room would get a chance to pose questions, whether or not they were prefaced by tendentious monologues….
McCarren and Husseini later clashed in the hallway. The back-and-forth between the two men, says McCarren, disrupted the proceedings at the Faisal press conference. "I said, 'Let's talk about this, but can you move down the hallway so that the room does not have to hear all of this?'?" recalls McCarren. "He wouldn't move."….
The press club doesn't consider Husseini a journalist — merely a "communicator" in the club's membership lexicon. That's because Husseini, according to McCarren, doesn't make the "bulk of his money from journalism."
Says McCarren: "Journalists have a few checks on them. If you came in with the purpose of disturbing the event, [if] you have no editor, it's a different equation than a journalist who's trying to be objective, trying to get a good question asked. I'd rather the hard questions be asked by journalists than non-journalists."
Anyone who has been at a public Q and A knows "tendentious monologues" are as common as bored yawns, but this was a particularly interesting one. Husseini was charged with violating Press Club rules about "boisterous and unseemly" content and stripped of his membership privileges; is boisterousness in the pursuit of making someone defend a government's legitimacy a crime?
I'm actually curious what Barack Obama would say off the cuff if similarly challenged about his government's legitimacy. (Not in any birther way–not the legitimacy of his role in the government–the legitimacy of the U.S. government itself.)
I blog, you decide: The incident, coming alive on your very own computer or handheld computing-style device: