Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's Not The Answers, It's The Questions

In its June 28th editorial, Blurt or ploy? The Toledo Blade points out that it was "shameful and disingenuous" for Charlie Black (a McCain adviser) to say that a terrorist attack would be a big advantage to John McCain in the November election. 

I guess that it could be considered shameful, being a fairly honest answer to a reporter's question from a political operative (at least to the Political Operatives Union), but it is awfully similar to an answer that Hilary Clinton gave back in August of 2007 while campaigning for the nomination without being asked. If either of these people were trying to take advantage of a horrible situation for personal gain (or a potential one) that would be deplorable. 

It would not be unusual however, as some politicians have been capitalizing on fear, and destruction for political advantage for as long as there have been politicians. None of this is the point however. This is not even about political ideology or media bias (though maybe it could be). The point in fact in most of these cases are the questions that the media asks, not the answers given. The pure shamelessness of the media when covering any story these days is absolutely mind-boggling. Now I am not a reporter (and have never played one in the movies or on TV), but take a look and see if these questions don't sound vaguely familiar: 

  • How do you feel about the fact that your entire family was killed by a drunk driver?
  • What will you do now that you have lost your house and everything that you own, carried away by the flooding river?
  • What were you thinking about when you saw that tornado coming towards your house?
  • How did you feel when that man pointed a gun at you?

So since asking pointless, rhetorical, and even rude questions seems to be OK, I have some questions for you: 

  • What is wrong with you people?
  • Are you idiots, ghouls, or simply so desensitized to tragedy that you have lost your humanity?
  • Why do you ask rhetorical questions simply to garner a pointless emotional response?

(Let me help you out on this one. People who lose something, their house... their car... their family, are heart-broken and in pain. Leave them alone and let them do their grieving.) 

  • Why do you ask politically charged questions and then become surprised when the answers are equally politically charged?
  • Why do you think that most people treat the media and its minions as bottom feeders?

The only thing (in the Blade's words) "shameful and disingenuous" in all of this is the desire of EVERY form of media these days to use any situation, no matter how tragic, as a rope to pull itself out of the cesspool of irrelevance that they have fallen into. 


Roland Hansen said...

My sentiments, exactly!

Ben said...

They can say Black's answer was "shameful" but I don't think "disingenuous" would be a good word it. He was asked a question and gave his honest opinion. I dont see the big deal here. I know we live in a PC society, but come on Toledo Blade. It wasnt like he said he was wishing for it to happen.

Tim Higgins said...


This is one of the classic, "When are you going to stop beating your wife? questions, asked only to provide blood in the water for the sharks to feed on. I too give the man credit for trying to answer it honestly, and none to McCain for subsequently disavowing him.

Mad Jack said...

Reporter: When are you going to stop beating your wife?
Mad Jack: Right after I loosen three of your teeth.

Some years back a rather irascible fellow lost his run for Mayor of Las Vegas. Confronted curbside by several talking heads, microphones and cameras, the young man paused before getting into his limo. After the obligatory "How does it feel to lose an election?" questions, one journalist asked the candidate if he was high on cocaine.

The candidate slapped him. This was a nice, fast full handed slap right across the yap. Served him right.