06/14/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Donald Rumsfeld Loudly Harangued At White House Correspondents' Dinner (VIDEO)

This video has been making the rounds, but in case you haven't seen it, here's Donald Rumsfeld getting shouted at by Desiree Fairooz and Medea Benjamin of the ubiquitous protest organization known as Code Pink. I gather that the big takeaway is that, in Code Pink's estimation, Donald Rumsfeld is a "war criminal." But don't take my word for it! Maybe my impression is based in a flawed parsing of all this subtlety.


Naturally, I'm not a big fan of Donald Rumsfeld, or the Iraq War strategy, or the foreign policy -- if it can be called that -- that came out of the Bush White House. And, on principle, I'm sort of okay with messing around with the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Nevertheless, I find it hard to divine the value of Code Pink yelling at Rumsfeld in this setting. In the first place, there's the pointlessness: the Beltway press are fully on board with "looking forward, not backward," and preserving comity, and not troubling their pretty little minds with the hurtful thoughts of the people they cover going to jail. And I promise you, this yelling at Donald Rumsfeld will only harden their position in this regard. But more to the point, I've watched Code Pink shout at Al Gore, of all people, at Netroots Nation, of all places, as he was explaining his national environmental policy initiative, of all the things to shout down. When you basically go out and disrupt EVERYTHING, it's hard to know where you stand on ANYTHING.

So, yeah, I find this stuff relentlessly unimpressive, but I've also found that plenty of people object to me saying so. Just like the Tea Parties! I nevertheless believe that just as crisis demands we not abandon our principles, our response to crisis demands we at least attempt to preserve a measure of dignity. And with that, everyone can start, you know, TOTALLY YELLING AT ME.

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]