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Major Garrett's 'What Took You So Long' Question

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 09:30 PM EDT

There’s some buzz about Major Garrett’s “What took you so long,” question to President Obama today. The question was in reference to the President’s toughening attitude toward Iran since Friday.

If you listen to Garrett’s entire question, it doesn’t appear disrespectful. Most people won’t know that, however, since the media isn’t reporting it accurately. CBS, for example, reported the story like this:

He had been criticized in recent days by John McCain and others for not offering stronger criticism of the Iranian regime. That prompted this question from Fox News’ Major Garrett: “What took you so long?”

If that had been Major’s question, it could be viewed as flip and disrespectful of the presidency. But watch the tape.

What took you so long to say those words.

Those last four words change the tone of the question, don’t they?

Even O’Reilly, from Major Garrett’s network, clipped the tape in the show intro, and then again in the Factor’s coverage of the story – playing just “What took you so long.” But Bill didn’t discuss whether there was anything wrong with Major’s question.

The President, meanwhile, appeared to have done a coordinated Q&A with at least one reporter. Here’s the story from Politico.

In what appeared to be a coordinated exchange, President Obama called on the Huffington Post’s Nico Pitney near the start of his press conference and requested a question directly about Iran.

“Nico, I know you and all across the Internet, we’ve been seeing a lot of reports coming out of Iran,” Obama said, addressing Pitney. “I know there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet. Do you have a question?”

Pitney, as if ignoring what Obama had just said, said: “I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian.”

He then noted that the site had solicited questions from people in the country “who were still courageous enough to be communicating online.”