Seen on the wire:
August 17, 2009 (United Press Affiliates)
(Washington D.C) -- A spokesperson for the Obama Administration is downplaying the significance of an incident at the White House yesterday which resulted in injuries to two reporters, calling it “an unfortunate misunderstanding.” The reporters sustained serious injuries as they and others suddenly rushed to kiss President Obama’s “behind” after mistakenly thinking he was speaking to them when he loudly exclaimed “Well you can just kiss my ass.” The reporters did not realize he was speaking into a cell phone via a small ear-piece microphone which was hidden from their view and they thought he was addressing them.
In the melee, New York Times reporter Susan Jones tripped on the leg of NBC reporter Sam Emery and sustained a compound fracture of her left femur, with a piece of bone protruding through her skin. Upon coming to after a five-hour surgery, she downplayed the seriousness of her injury saying “These things happen, and it’s no big deal. It was just a misunderstanding on the part of us reporters, and this does not reflect at all on President Obama. I’m just so thankful that he was completely uninjured and can continue his historic and consequential presidency.” Mr Emery, who has been on the White House beat only six months since graduating from journalism school, suffered multiple ligament tears in his right knee when he hit the ground but shrugged it off saying “At my age these injuries were bound to happen sooner or later, and I’m just so happy that President Obama is fine and continues to bring all residents of North America and the world together through his visionary leadership.” NBC's veteran broadcaster Brian Williams, who has said that more should follow his example of bowing before President Obama and keeping a respectful distance, nevertheless stated "With all the excitement in appearing before President Obama, it's easy to see how things like this happen."
Newsweek Magazine’s editor Evan Thomas, who has characterized President Obama as a “sort of God” and who has decided to feature President Obama permanently on the magazine's cover, expressed relief that both the President and the Newsweek reporter at the scene were not hurt and voiced pride that his reporter was the only one to actually reach President Obama to plant a kiss on his behind before the misunderstanding was recognized. He said the incident illustrates the “dedication, passion, and journalistic professionalism” his staff bring to reporting the news.
John M Greco