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Obama gets angry (in ineffective interview featuring weak questions)

Barack Obama recently spoke with Brad Watson of WFAA in an interview (link, video below) that was sold by Matt Drudge and others as some sort of watershed moment ("FIRST TIME: REPORTER TURNS AGGRESSIVE WITH OBAMA" was his headline).

Certainly, almost all reporters have treated Obama extremely reverentially and from that perspective the interview is markedly different. However, the interview was basically worthless: it didn't hold Obama accountable and it didn't force him to answer the tough questions he's needed to be asked for years. I'm not surprised he'd get angry, but a politician getting angry is nothing; everyone can relate to someone getting angry. The interview is just entertainment, an Oprah/Springer moment.

I tried to ask Obama a question over four years ago, and it was much tougher than what's on the video below. And, for over four years, I've been promoting the question authority plan, encouraging people to go ask politicians tough questions. I've gotten almost zero help with that, and I've even gotten some opposition from commenters on sites like Protein Wisdom.

For an example of how worthless the interview was, consider this supposed question Watson asked:

"Was the shuttle not awarded to Houston because of politics?"

That's not a question, it's an allegation with a question mark at the end. When asking a question, one should be imagining how it's going to be answered and change the question to get a more preferred response. Unless the reporter's goal was simply to get an allegation out there, he did not do that. What would anyone expect Obama to say? "Yes, it was awarded because of politics"?

A better question would be something like, "Awarding the shuttle to Florida makes less sense than awarding it to Houston for [valid, documented reason]. Do you have a study showing that [valid, documented reason] is wrong?" If there's no such study, then find the rationale of whoever awarded the shuttle and try to find a hole in the rationale. Then, ask a specific question designed to force Obama into some sort of answer that exposes that it was awarded for invalid reasons (assuming it was).

Obama also denies being involved with the commission that made the shuttle decision. There are two possibilities: either that's true or false. If he wasn't involved, then why ask him the question? If he's lying about being involved, then ask specific questions designed to reveal that, such as pointing out who was on the commission and Obama's links to them (if any), pointing out who was not on the commission, and so on.

Please don't give in to Oprah/Springer-level entertainment: help promote the question authority plan.

Other tags: bad questions

Tue, 04/19/2011 - 20:29 · Importance: 4