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Hard questions are not 'Gotcha' questions

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Wonderlic, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. Wonderlic

    Wonderlic Member

    Forgive the political undertone but I think this column by Poynter's Kelly McBride, which is fantastic, belongs over here, rather than on the "Child Board"...


    Probably my favorite segment:

    I want to say something that might seem obvious, but I have to say it, out loud. Hard questions are not gotcha journalism. Pressing the potential vice president for details that might reveal the depth of her knowledge on the economy or foreign policy is not unethical. If anything, it is the exact opposite of unethical.

    This is a job interview. And since most voters don't get the chance to talk to the people running for the highest offices of this country, journalists step in and do that job. If I'm interviewing you to build an addition on my house, I'm going to ask you some detailed questions, such as how you'd handle the electrical wiring or comply with the neighborhood zoning code. I'm going to want to detailed answers, not vague reassurances. Asking the candidate who is applying for the job of vice president of this country how she might respond to an Israeli military strike on an Arab country or what the federal government should do to shore up the economy is completely relevant.

    Those are not gotcha questions. That is not a pop quiz.
  2. I couldn't agree with you more, Wonderlic. Wish more people were saying these things. These very obvious things.

  3. There are quite a few people saying this on the political threads.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Would "Have you stopped beating your wife?" be a gotcha question, though?
  5. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    The questions being asked of Palin are not job interview questions. They're not asking how she'd handle this circumstance or that circumstance: how would you deal with Pakistan, or the credit crisis? If she fumbles those, that's a problem. But they're giving her an oral SAT exam. ("What do you think of the Bush Doctrine?" REALLLLLLY????)
    They're trying to prove their theory that she's dumb. It's crap journalism, embarrassing to our profession.
  6. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Or maybe they're trying to determine if someone unknown to 99 percent of the public just two months ago has a sufficient base of knowledge and intellectual wherewithal to hold one of our nation's top leadership roles. Regardless, she failed. Miserably. Almost time to snow-machine into the sunset now.

    Edit: To include the fact that she got an 841 on her SAT and had a 2.2 GPA in high school. I'm thinking it's a good thing she's been vetted by the media.
  7. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Easy questions aren't gotcha questions either.
  8. Beaker

    Beaker Active Member

    With all due respect, I think you're letting your ostensible support for the ticket hinder your estimation of such questions' journalistic responsibility. As cran intimated, the public has a right to know whether or not she has the necessary competence to serve as VP. After all, until recently, she had been a local/small-state politician who was unknown to the grand majority of Americans (and perhaps even McCain, since apparently she was not properly vetted). National politics is a completely different animal, and considering her potential position, questions about such things as the Bush Doctrine are entirely relevant.
  9. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    And if she's not interviewing for a job - which is a good analogy, IMO - what the fuck is she doing?
  10. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    They're gotcha questions when you're unintelligent.
  11. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    If I'm conducting a job interview, then I'm going to ask the same tough questions of all the people I'm considering for the position.

    And if I'm opening a McDonald's, say, I'm going to have a much greater level of concern about the experience and capabilities of the person I'm hiring as manager than the one I'm hiring, say, to be the fry chef.
  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    If you can't answer hard questions, whether they are from left-wing media, right-wing media, unbiased media, or the diplomat from a country you don't get along with, you shouldn't be running for president or vice-president.
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