Thinktrain has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just answer the freaking question

NBC News has chosen to call the situation in Iraq a civil war as of this week. Many other news outlets are doing the same. Here's how President Bush responded when asked that question today:

"No question it's tough, no question about it. There's a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented in my opinion because of the attacks by al Qaeda causing people to seek reprisal."
My point here, though I did not vote for Bush in 2004 and objected to the war in Iraq prior to its onset, has nothing directly to do with which side of the aisle the president or anyone else is on. This kind of non-answer to a reporter's question, once lauded as an effective media relations tactic, is not only hurting public discourse in our country, if you ask me, it is damaging public opinion of anyone who uses it consistently. Democrats do it just as much as Republicans, and I think it's hurting America.

The Bush administration spent six years refusing to answer questions, even ones that it was silly to refuse to consider. Now that the balance of power has shifted in Congress, the administration is finally beginning to address its critics humbly and openly, relatively speaking, despite what Bush did or did not say today. If the administration had learned how to do that even six months ago, it might not be dealing with a loss of seats in both sides of Congress today.

I think it's fine to have talking points to get across in any interview, but it isn't fine to just parrot them back incessantly as if the question were never asked. It's really a moot point by now any way because the media is so accustomed to public figures doing this. CBS went ahead and did what Bush was trying to avoid by clarifying the president's position: "President Bush said Tuesday that the sectarian violence rocking Iraq is not civil war but part of an al Qaeda plot to use violence to goad Iraqi factions into repeatedly attacking each other."

Just say "yes" or "no," and then tell us why. We'll all be a whole lot better off, if you ask me.

No comments: