Politicians and media interact regularly. The media mostly criticises the politicians for their actions and asks questions, but there have been several instances when politicians used offensive language against the journalists and it was caught on camera.
1. Joe Biden, the US President, referred to a reporter as a ‘stupid son of a bitch’ when he asked the President a question on the impact of inflation.
Peter Doocy, a White House correspondent, asked a question to Joe Biden regarding the impact of inflation on the 2022 midterm Congressional elections, and whether inflation was a liability or not. To this, Biden replied:
That’s a great asset, more inflation, what a stupid son of a bitch.
2. Donald Trump, former US President, snapped at a reporter calling him a ‘lightweight’ when he questioned him whether he would concede the election once the Electoral College formally votes to make Democrat Joe Biden the next president.
Trump tried to evade the question but when Jeff Mason Reuters White House correspondent pressed him to answer whether he would concede, Trump said:
Don’t talk to me that way. You’re just a lightweight. Don’t talk to me that way. I’m the president of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way.
JUST IN: President Trump snaps at reporter objecting to the President’s false claims about the election: “You’re just a lightweight. Don’t talk to me that way. I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the President that way.” pic.twitter.com/RbTKItjs9L— The Hill (@thehill) November 26, 2020
3. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s President, told a journalist to ‘shut up’ on being questioned about his frequent refusal to wear a mask amid the pandemic.
Lashing out at the journalist, he said:
Shut your mouth! You are creeps! You practice rogue journalism, which doesn’t help at all. You destroy the Brazilian family, destroy the Brazilian religion!
4. Ajay Kumar Mishra, an Indian politician and union minister was caught on camera allegedly hurling abuses and attempting to pounce at a journalist when he was questioned on additional charges slapped against his son.
The minister was briefing the media after inaugurating an oxygen plant. A journalist Naveen Awasthi asked him, “Mantriji, what do you have to say about the new charges added against your son?” Mishra replied:
Aisa hai, bewakoofi ke sawaal mat kara karo. Dimaag kharab hai kya bey?
The Minister reportedly also abused the entire journalist fraternity by referring to them as “chor” and tried to snatch the phone of another reporter.
5. Masroor Ali Siyal, a senior Pakistani politician, physically attacked senior journalist and president of Karachi Press Club Imtiaz Khan Faran during a talk show.
Is this Naya Pakistan? PTI’s Masroor Ali Siyal attacks president Karachi press club Imtiaz Khan on live news show. pic.twitter.com/J0wPOlqJTt— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) June 24, 2019
6. Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad allegedly used cuss words against a reporter on duty after he got annoyed by journalists’ questions.
TV journalists have demanded action against Maharashtra Minister Jitendra Awhad for using abusive language against their colleague Somdutta Sharma (CTV). We denounce the unwarranted act and stand in solidarity with our TV media colleagues.@PawarSpeaks— Mumbai Press Club (@mumbaipressclub) February 17, 2020
His act was condemned on Twitter and later the minister apologised saying there must have been some misunderstanding.
I disagreed to a question asked to women who I was representing that very moment. I signalled my resentment and moved away. Thereafter from my lip moments there was a misunderstanding though the reporter was standing far away from me. Anyways, I apologise for the incident.
7. Robert Mugabe, former Zimbabwe President, once threatened to punch a reporter for asking him about his retirement.
In an interview, he was asked who would be his successor. To this he replied:
Why successor? I am still there. Why do you want a successor? I did not say I was a candidate to retire. Do you want me to punch you to the floor to realise I am still there?
8. Donald Trump lashed out at correspondent during a daily coronavirus briefing calling him a ‘terrible reporter’.
When NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander asked Trump, then President of the USA, what he would say to Americans who are scared about the coronavirus, he lashed out at him and said:
I say that you’re a terrible reporter. That’s what I say. I think it’s a very nasty question and I think it’s a very bad signal that you’re putting out to the American people.
Do you have more to add to the list?