When the going gets tough, the tough get going, while the Republicans and the conservatives reach deep down into their blame bag and pull out the latest craze that’s sweeping the GOP talking points. It’s a defense mechanism known as the ‘gotcha’ question, and candidates like Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul have really taken this responsibility ducking mechanism to another level. Instead of grabbing the questionability bull by the horns, these candidates, along with many others, have resorted to angrily trying to tame the paper tiger they refer to as the lame-stream media whenever it poses a tough question on a controversial issue that is designed to illicit a sometimes controversial response, but is this and should this be beyond the realm of our political atmosphere?
Can there legitimately be politics without the reality of political controversy or the ‘gotcha’ question? One could definitely argue that without the media’s right to ask the so-called ‘gotcha’ question candidates, politicians, and other public figures would just be allowed to cunningly skate away from any accountability that they might have regarding a controversial issue. And while political, Fox News affiliated pundits like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity consistently criticize other networks for not asking tough enough questions to President Obama, when someone like Newt Gingrich is confronted with a detail oriented question about life outside of his comfort zone it quickly becomes a ‘gotcha’ question.
What many of the politicians fail to realize is the fact that the ‘gotcha’ question is not what has really gotten them into trouble. What has really gotten them into trouble usually tends to be the consequences of their actions—political or otherwise, and that is not the fault of the person behind the camera, and it is not the fault of the reporter asking the questions.
So in total disagreement with the Sarah Palins, the Newt Gingrichs, and the Ron Pauls of the political world, it’s not the media’s alleged, epicurean desire to ask the ‘gotcha’ question just to tar and feather conservative candidates that deserves the label of lame-stream—it would be the media’s cowardice and dereliction of journalistic duty to not ask the ‘gotcha’ question of any politician or person of interest that deserves the label of lame-stream.
And for one of the most recent examples, let’s take a look at a current, gotcha controversy involving the candidacy of presidential nominee Ron Paul, who has been pushed for years by the media for answers of more clarity involving dubious, past comments that appeared in newsletters under his name.
Excerpts from The Story Behind Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters by the Atlantic
“Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
“Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”
Now conservatives are quick to point out that Barack Obama sat in the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright for 20 years as he spoke words that, once released to the public, rattled most of White, America unlike anything since the L.A. uprisings of 1992 when Reginald Denny was dragged out of his truck and unceremoniously introduced to Black life in the ghetto. But unlike the Ron Paul newsletters, Obama’s name was evidently not attached to Reverend Wright’s material. Wright’s material must belong to him, which is something that he never denied.
It would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Obama to claim that he had no knowledge of the controversial remarks made by Reverend Wright if they were published under his name. Ron Paul’s claims of being unaware of these comments being published under his name just does not fly right to many inside and outside of the media!
It’s very similar to the argument that conservatives are using to criticize Attorney General Eric Holder’s ‘Fast and Furious’ quagmire on a couple of levels, because the same argument that conservatives are using to try to run Holder out-of-town like a political heretic is the argument that continues to hold the door open for the media to go after Paul’s newsletters, and that model is simple. If the chief doesn’t know what’s going on, it’s incompetence, and if the chief does know, yet does nothing about it, it’s negligence, but if the chief is proven to have known all along and only acts to disavow the controversy once the media or the public turns up the ‘gotcha’ question heat, it’s politically disingenuous and usually politically too late to mean anything of value.
Either way, the ‘gotcha’ question teeth will begin to grind. And even though Holder could label his ordeal as a politically motivated series of gotcha questions and angrily scrutinize Congress for continuing to ask such questions similarly to what Ron Paul did to CNN’s Gloria Borger when she pressed him on the legitimacy of the media’s responsibility to pry, it will not alleviate the duty of either of them to continue to provide more clarified answers when asked again in the future.
And this was evident as Paul became evasively crabby by Borger’s persistence. When Borger asked Paul if the line of questioning was legitimate due to the incendiary content of the newsletter comments, Paul passed the political buck back to Borger and the media as he accused her and CNN of making it a big, incendiary deal by constantly stoking the ‘gotcha’ question fires, as he removed his microphone and walked out on Borger.
In all due respect Mr. Paul, the only way to stop stoking these fires is to not ask the tough, gotcha-like questions, but it is the people’s right to ask tough questions and demand more detailed answers. When you are the President of the United States and a global leader, the whole world becomes a ‘gotcha’ question. And if Paul, along with all of the other politicians and presidential nominees, cannot comprehend this reality, then they should take the advice of former presidential nominee Herman Cain and blame themselves instead of the gotcha questions or the lame-stream media. If you can’t take the political heat, then get out of the kitchen, because there is no kitchen any hotter than the presidency, where the ‘gotcha’ questions are kind of like the Secret Service. As soon as you think that they are not around, they spring into action right in front of your face—oh those darn ‘gotcha’ questions!