Well, all this is interesting to me, anyway, and that's what matters here. The Internet is a terrible thing for someone like me, who finds almost everything interesting.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Reince Priebus acts like a dick
Journalists are supposed to ask tough questions. That's their job. But Republicans have perfected the art of making them back off.
Watch how Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, does it: "Well, I know how you're going to vote, Carol." And later: "You've been reading the Democratic talking points for the last seven minutes, Carol." (That's Carol Costello at CNN.)
He's riding that right-wing hobbyhorse, liberal media bias. Now, for journalists - note that I do not include Fox News employees - bias is a serious issue. Everyone has biases, of course, but real journalists try very hard to be fair.
Still, if you're asking questions of the Republicans, you probably should be using Democratic talking points, don't you think? And likewise, using Republican claims when questioning Democrats? How better to ask the tough questions?
Of course, what she's really doing is just stating the truth. She's attempting to be a good journalist. And no, it's not good journalism to just let a political operative ramble wherever he wants.
But Priebus does get what he wants, doesn't he? She backs off, and he gets to make his long, rambling statement - even throwing Israel in there, although I have no idea how Israel is supposed to "turn our economy completely around" and make our unemployment rate drop.
Given Fox News, which is basically just the propaganda arm of the GOP, it's remarkable that Republicans can do this, isn't it? But in the background, the right-wing chorus is constantly chanting "liberal media bias," and the mainstream media just bends over backward trying to prove it isn't true.
As I say, this is a serious accusation to make to a real journalist. And if repeated often enough, even CNN viewers will start to believe it - at least some of them. Costello's bosses won't like that, so she's probably not going to get any brownie points for any of this. It's safer just to skip the tough questions.
And so Republicans get softball interviews. They get to make long, rambling political statements on national TV. And they get to claim that they're being victimized. It's quite a racket.
For America, we get the kind of journalism where asking a candidate for high political office what newspapers and magazines she reads is considered an unfair, "gotcha" question. We get presidential debates where the moderators can't even bring up what's been in the news. Journalists learn to stick with softball questions, and all of America loses.
Now me, I'm biased, but I still want to be accurate. So I didn't go with my original title, "Reince Priebus is a dick." After all, I don't actually know if he is a dick, or if he was just acting like a dick for cynical political reasons. And I do want to be fair.
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