WATCH OUT WHERE THE HUSKIES GO: “Are ya gonna watch?” someone said as CNN announced “the most important debate of the year” this morning.
And although normally we’d rather drink four day old vomit than listen to Sarah Palin speak, in the same rubber-necking way we watch plane crashes and can’t look away from the Kaua`i council meetings, we’re finding it hard to resist, if for no other reason than the comic entertainment value.
But really what we are anxious to see is the next installment of the ultimate dumbing down of the once secret PR tactic of feigning outage at, first the question and then the questioner.
As a journalist you get used to it. Everyone wants more investigative reporting and tougher questions... until it’s their ox being gored. Then you’re just a mean old man asking question no one wants the answers to anyway.
It used to be that in order to exercise the ability to turn the tables on a reporter asking a question that would make you look like the dirty lyin’ dirtbag you are, you needed skill.
But then again those were times when people had critical reading and listening skills and hadn’t been completely anesthetized by Burger King commercials and Sudoku.
It used to take time to learn how to BS anyone anytime anywhere but once you mastered the skill you could work for crooks like big tobacco, “clean” coal or pharmaceutical pill-pushers... or even- if you’re really good and willing to take six showers a day to wash out the moral stank- a press secretary for the president.
But when John McCain sat down to join Palin in trying to answer Katie Couric's second round of questions last week- after Palin had done her dodge and weave the day before- it turned out Palin didn’t need McCain to help her answer substantive questions, he needed her to learn how to not answer them.
And in the end all McCain- he of the all-BS-all-the-time Straight Talk Express- could do is sit and smugly smile at his “excellent” choice of someone who simply complained and counter-attacked Couric for asking “gotcha” questions all the time (like naming one specific, in answer to any one of her questions) “just like you reporters are always doing”.
We’re used to the professional spinmeister giving BS answers and not answering questions when 60 minutes marches in and busts them.
But the secret is out and it’s the favored tactic of anyone who doesn’t want to talk about any subject.
We’ve been working on an investigative report that we hope to finish next week where getting information from the people in charge has been exercise in futility.
And every time we try to pin down the unofficial associate morons they complain that we are looking for the information they don’t want to give us.
Every time we refuse to swallow some laughable misdirection and cut through the crap, they accuse of us not reporting what they want to lie about and accuse us of instead “focusing on the bad stuff”, as if it’s our job to make stuff up to make them look good.
As we’ve gotten accustomed to saying over the years, especially during our Parxist Conspiracy” TV newsmagazine years, “oh- you have us confused with Dickie Chang”
Perhaps it’s that, especially on Kaua`i, they’re expecting what they always get from the press- a fluff story that puts their contrived convolutions and preposterous parsing into an incoherent distraction from the facts, serving to further blur the line between news and pubic relations.
Everyone has seen how it’s done so often, anyone set on serving up a crap sandwich has learned how to do it, monkey-see-monkey-do style.
It’s the song and dance of the phony-baloney. It goes “we may be stupid or we may be incompetent. But until you prove which we’ll just criticize you for not knowing.”
“We’ll just avoid the question as long as we can and once we’ve ignored it at least three times we’ll attack the person asking the question for hounding us over it.”
We bet this scene is not uncommon these days.
“Did you do your homework little Johnnie?”
“I told you yesterday I’m not answering gotcha questions mom- why are you parents so interested in my homework anyway”
“Did you do it?”
“Of course I’ve done homework.”
“Did you do it today?
“Why are you so focused on my homework- don’t you have something better to do”
“Alright tell me one specific homework assignment you did”
“I do homework all the time- why I can see my homework from this desk”
“OK- show me your homework- today’s homework- the homework you were assigned in class.”
“I look at every piece of homework that’s put in front of me. I see math homework, I see science homework, I see English homework, I see history ho...
“SHOW ME YOUR COMPLETED HOMEWORK”
“Well that’s it- I’ve had it answering questions like it’s the Spanish Inquisition. This is nothing but a witch hunt. You don’t like my answers because they don’t support you liberal parents agenda. You parents are all the same- no wonder everyone hates parents.... uh, what’s for dinner?”