Updated: You can say this for our current commander-in-chief: He’s got great reflexes. During a press conference on Saturday, Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, a reporter with Cairo-based network Al Baghdadia Television, hurled his shoes at President Bush, who ducked the size-10 loafers pretty nimbly.
According to Matt Fiorentino at Visible Measures, which tracks the consumption and distribution of online video, as of today at 11 am EST there were over 550 copies of the video online with more than 3.7 million views and 38,000 comments. “It appears to be growing at a rate of more than 100 thousand views per hour,” Fiorentino says.
UPDATE: Visible Measures sent us another set of stats on the video. As of 4:30 p.m. EST, there were over 650 copies of the video that have generated more than 5.4 million views and 48,000 comments.
Al Baghdadia bureau chief Fityan Mohammed has not been able to make contact with Al-Zaidi since the shoe-hurling incident: “His phone is switched off,” Mohammed told the BBC. Al-Zaidi may have had more reason than most to be agitated by the current situation in Iraq: he was kidnapped and beaten by Shiite minutemen last year.
The press has been quick to point out that in Iraqi culture, throwing your shoes at someone is considered a grave insult. Though, as Boing Boing points out, how much danger was there of it being interpreted as a sign of friendship?