Ask A Stupid Question, Get A Stupid Questioner

I hope last night’s Democratic debate was the last one. Ever. I can stands so much till I can stands no more. But it really has become, as the Times notes this morning, a parody. A parody of a parody, complete with idiotic questions, followed by the attendant “insight” of the MSM pooh-bahs who have shown how dense they really are.

Flat out, I’ve never liked Tim Russert. A supremely confident blow-hard who’s managed to create a reputation as the “toughest questioner on television,” Russert finally had his lunch handed to him in the best part of last night’s debate, when Hillary Clinton dissected his slipshod questioning. And a red-faced Russert nearly exploded.

SEN. CLINTON: You know, Tim, you ask a lot of hypotheticals. And I believe–

MR. RUSSERT: But this is reality.

SEN. CLINTON: No — it isn’t reality. You’re — you’re — you’re making lots of different hypothetical assessments.

MR. RUSSERT: We’re going to get — we’re going to get to Senator Obama, but I want to stay on your terms — SEN. CLINTON: Well, but that — but that is important —

MR. RUSSERT: — because this was something that you wrote about as a real success for your husband. You said it was good on balance for New York and America in 2004, and now you’re in Ohio and your words are much different, Senator. The record is very clear!

SEN. CLINTON: Well, you don’t have all the record because you can go back and look at what I’ve said consistently.

LOL. You can’t handle the truth! When you look at the line of questioning and read the transcripts, Russert browbeats Clinton and throws softballs to Obambi the entire night. His set up to the questions gets longer and longer with Clinton as he attempts to “trap her” (did doofus get the memo that this wasn’t an episode of Meet the Press, but instead, a DEBATE last night?), where his questions get simpler and shorter with Obama as the night goes on.

“Gotcha” journalism isn’t “hard-hitting” or particularly all that clever. And asking hypotheticals over and over and over again is shoddy debate preparation, and lets us know nothing about the character of those being questioned.

Ironically, I saw Russert earlier in the evening on Hardball, angrily denying that “Saturday Night Live was accurate” in its portrayal of the MSM (him included) being “in the tank with Obama.” For real! He was pissed, red-faced, with an aura of “how dare they accuse me?” of such a thing (side bar: this follows Monday’s rage against SNL by Keith Olbermann).

And this morning on Today he again defended himself against the “SNL charge,” as it’s becoming known, by saying “Y’know, Matt, the problem wasn’t with the questions, the problem was with her answers,” regarding Clinton.

Uh, no, gasbag, the problem was definitely with both the questions and the questioner.

In reality, of course, the SNL parody continues to haunt because the writers finally came back to work and called the MSM out: Russert, Olbermann, Williams, et al, (Mo Dowd?) have been punked by the Obama campaign, hustling his talking points, treating him with kid gloves.

These guys just can’t handle an “uppity woman,” apparently. And the snickering sexism in the way the MSM has dealt with Clinton is simply astounding (keep in mind, I write this as Obama supporter, of all things).

I am not into identity politics at all, but as I’ve noted over the past year, the country would more than likely elect a black man over a white woman (or any woman) any day of the week. Because gender trumps race in terms of discrimination. And that’s become quite painfully clear the past couple of months.

We’ve come a long way, in that regard, with race relations in this country, but the gender gap is still Grand Canyon in scale, especially in the MSM.

Cross posted from AoF

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10 Responses to Ask A Stupid Question, Get A Stupid Questioner

  1. john stone says:


    Boy, am I in agreement with you! I have the same opinion of Tim Russert !
    Also Mr. Smarty Tucker Carlson and Screaming Ranting and Raving Chris Matthews. These guys all think they are the news, not the interviewer. You expect this from Fox, but not from MSNBC.

  2. I enjoyed this piece. Yet, though what you say is so so true, I believe the debates are useful. Everyone is not a political junkie. Some people, believe it or not, are just now tuning in, and with the media glorifying Barack, Hillary needs these debates so that people can see all the facets of her.

    Sorry to hear that you are an Obama fan. Glad that you can see the differences in the candidates. JoAnne

  3. Todd

    I can stands no more myself!

  4. JoAnne

    Todd has a great gift for writing and has been an integral part of the Dem Daily from our early days. We love him – even if he supports Obama! 😉

  5. John Stone

    “These guys all think they are the news, not the interviewer.”

    You got that!

  6. bjerryberg says:

    To paraphrase one of Sen. Kerry’s worst moments of 2004: Russert, like the rest of MSM, voted for Obama before they voted against him.

    The avalanche against Obama is coming. Do not get too attached.

    The Cheney biographer who hailed the Dick as the greatest VP ever–and also personally found Saddam’s imaginary WMD– has lauded Barry Obama as the new Reagan. And Rush “fears” a 50 state Obama sweep… C’mon, you have to know they have something on him-to promote him so brazenly.

    Hillary, in the national interest, should stay in after March 4, no matter how many Ditto-head GOPers vote for Barry Obama in Texas and Ohio.

  7. Although I tend to favor Obama over Senator Clinton, I was madened by Tim Russert’s badgering of her. Their is absolutely no excuse for this type of harrassment, which masquerades as questioning. I truly felt sorry for Hillary. No candidate, especially one with the credentials of Senator Clinton, deserves this kind of treatment!! These debates seemed much more civil and better organized when they were sponsered by The League of Women Voters.
    I think Hillary may have stumbeled the way to turn the momentum in her favor, simply request more on screen interviews with Tim Russert! Buzz

  8. William, “badgering” is exactly the right word. We sound like we’re on the same side re Obama, but it was almost embarrassing to watch the kid gloves treatment he received. Who would have thought Saturday Night Live would be so prescient?

    Joanne, glad you enjoyed the piece. I agree that debates are useful and are absolutely necessary. But I think that 20 times over the course of a year is overkill.

    Still, as you noted, it did give us a chance to see HRC fight back. And it said even more about the media’s obsessions with “getting” her than it did anything else.

  9. Todd, Buzz

    Outside of the fact that I think HRC is stronger on the issues and the experience factor is important to me, the treatment that HRC has received from the press is one of the things that drove me towards my support for her. It echoes loudly in my opinion the treatment JK got in ’04 (and after) but it also had the sexist edge which has rankled me to no end.

    I have a lot of respect for the fact that she is a fighter – being one at heart myself. Lately I feel the fight has been knocked out of me though.

  10. bjerryberg: Is Bloomberg really gone?