Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Gotcha Question

Many in the left wing media have been in a snit because conservative presidential hopeful Scott Walker refused to answer a British journalist who asked him, “do you believe in evolution?”

    The question obviously had nothing to do with the subjects at hand, with his ability to govern or with foreign or domestic policies. It was in the purest sense a “gotcha” question, a technique liberal journalist are fond of using when interviewing conservatives.

    If Walker had said no, he would have alienated much of his conservative religious base. Had he said yes, the liberals would have ranted for weeks about his ignorant, last century beliefs. Walker simply refused to play the game.

    I have often wondered when politicians would realize they don’t have to answer every question a reporter asks. For me, a highlight of exchanges between a journalist and a politician was when Margret Thatcher, conservative prime minister of England, told a reporter, “Me thinks you waste prime minister’s time.”

    The ultimate gotcha question and answer came when the Pharisees asked Christ if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar. If Jesus said yes, he would make all the Jews mad because they hated paying taxes to the oppressive Romans. If he said no, he would be considered a subversive by Rome.

    Jesus didn’t answer the question. Instead, he took a coin and asked the Pharisees whose image was on the coin. They answered it was Caesar’s. He then told them to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s: end of conversation.

    Politicians need to anticipate the gotcha questions, be ready with answers just as pithy and quit falling for the trap.

    The problem with the question, “Do you believe in evolution?” is that it is too general, and for a thinking person, it cannot be answered with a yes or a no. It is not nuanced enough.

(Liberals seem to love the word “nuanced” when defending some nonsensical statement by one of their own. Their condescending attitude being, it was just too nuanced for you stupid republicans to understand.)

    The politician under fire needs to restate such questions into a more nuanced form and then answer their own question.

     A nuanced form of the reporter’s question to Walker would have been, “do you believe evolution to be the source of creation as we know it or simply a tool used by God.” Now, when Walker says a tool used by God, if journalists want to make fun of him, they risk offending the 95 per cent of their audience who believe in God, and Walker would not have offended his base.