Gotcha Journalism

October 1, 2008

Since we’ve been talking so much about it, here’s the clip:

Now, to be fair, there actually is something to this ‘gotcha journalism’ charge. Couric is clearly filled with contempt for Palin, and she pressed the governor not because she thought it was important for her viewers to know what Palin reads, but because she knew Palin couldn’t answer the question.

But think about that. If Couric had asked McCain, Obama, or Biden that question, it most certainly wouldn’t have been a ‘gotcha’ question, it would have been a stupid question, because, frankly, who cares? ‘What newspapers and magazines do you read’ would be an incredibly easy question for any serious politician to answer, but it wouldn’t really tell us much about what they thought or intended to do about anything. So one side-effect of the Palin candidacy is now massive inflation in what counts as a gotcha question. It would be absurd at this point to ask Palin who the foreign minister of XYZistan is, so Couric was reduced to asking: “How many newspapers can you name?” The answer, dear reader, will shock you.

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