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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Joe Wilson

On the Web: Heckling’s Top 10

Rep. Joe Wilson may be having his 15 minutes of fame for yelling “You Lie” during President Obama’s speech, but he’s not the first person to heckle a president during a speech. (And based on the direction political discourse is headed in America, he won’t be the last.)

But Buzzfeed has compiled a list of presidential speech interruptions, complete with video, that reach back to Ronald Reagan. While none of the others happen during an address to a joint session of Congress, they do show that heckling can happen at inopportune times.

Click here to see the list.

And for those of you who’d like to change the direction of discourse in this country, there’s this site, where you can plug in your own words to shots from the speech.

Whose pants on fire?

Didn’t take long for the left and the right to grab onto a two-word outburst during President Obama’s speech Wednesday night.

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., called the White House to apologize for shouting “You lie,” when Obama was talking about health care and illegal immigrants. But some right wing blogs are defending his outburst, saying dissent is as acceptable in a presidential speech as standing and clapping. Operation Rescue and some other groups also are using the “L” word in their press releases Thursday morning.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, meanwhile, had a fund-raising appeal out first thing Thursday morning, proclaiming that heckling the president is unacceptable and asking donors’ help in raising $100,000 in 48 hours to show Wilson “that we will not stand for our president being called a liar in front of the nation.”

Disrespect has been the hallmark of the summer, the DCCC contends: “But disrespecting the President before the eyes of the nation and just at the moment when President Obama was offering his solution to the greatest challenge of our time is truly an outrage.”

OK, so Wilson’s outburst was not a classy thing to do. One should expect better of a congressman, although with the current low regard the nation has for members of Congress, that may be debatable.

But is a two-word outburst during a high-ranking politician’s talk acceptable free speech?

A court case based in Spokane would suggest that it is.

Go inside the blog to read more.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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