The video below shows Sen. Dick Durbin refusing to answer a question at one of his press conferences, using the fact that the questioner is just a citizen journalist as the pretext. Meanwhile, the supposed real reporters run cover for Durbin, encouraging the citizen journalist to leave. Durbin asks the non-"real" journalist "would you please leave?", refuses to answer his question, and then is asked a setup question by a "real" reporter which he happily answers. This video is a very clear example of a rather symbiotic relationship between politicians and their supposed watchdogs in the media.
Per the citizen journalist (Bill Kelly, link):
But the Senator's scripted storyline veered off-course when a conservative reporter - me - showed up to ask an embarrassing question. Namely, "Senator, you've blamed the tea party…but do you bear any responsibility for this downgrade crisis?"...
...I am an independent social journalist for the Washington Times Communities and contribute to the American Spectator, and Breitbart.com among others. No other blogger, freelance journalist, or other member of the media was asked to show their credentials at this event. In fact, the event was sponsored by City Club of Chicago and was open to media and the public.
This brings us to the eternal question: Who is media and who is not? Who gets to decide? Sen. Dick Durbin? His friends in the Chicago media? Are public officials accountable to the public? Do we have the right to question authority? Or must we just accept what they bestow upon us? Do we have the right to question the media? Or do we have to let the so-called "real" journalists impose their own idea of news? Of truth?
During my exchange with him, Sen. Durbin told (instructed) the media, "You guys aren't going to cover this are you?" And the media…didn't.
It would have been easier for Durbin to simply answer the question, and as a lawyer and an experienced politician it wouldn't have been that difficult for him to do so because it isn't a good question at all. Does anyone expect Durbin to say, "yes, I accept responsibility?" No, how Durbin would have responded should have been obvious: accepting some collective blame for spending on behalf of DC, and then shifting most of that blame to the GOP, and then (correctly) blaming the teapartiers for initiating the squabble that led to the downgrade. See bad questions for several past examples.
Instead, of answering, Durbin simply reinforced the (correct) idea of a biased, lapdog media. Unfortunately, he's also increased the paranoia of the tea parties types and gave them yet another instance of victimization to rally around. Luckily for him, they won't be able to do anything about it: they'll keep on asking bad questions instead of learning how to ask good questions such as the ones on the DREAM Act page.
In some ways, this video is an example of the question authority plan in action. What's missing is the key part: the questions asked have to be tough.
Fri, 08/12/2011 - 10:56 · Importance: 4