Saturday, January 9, 2010

Some other question Stephanopolous could've asked Rudy

In response to the outcry over the fact that he failed to ask a followup question when the man who was mayor of NYC said "Bush never had a domestic terrorist attack during his administration," Steph essentially said "oops my bad" on his blog. To which I suppose some people would say "hey, everyone makes mistakes." 

As a public schoolteacher, I belong to a profession that is often accused of containing countless incompetents whose jobs are invulnerable. I can say from experience that's an exaggeration, but I'll acknowledge some truth. But to give an exact parallel to what GS did last Sunday, consider the following case: a student gets up in my class and writes "1/2 + 1/3 = 2/5," and I say "good work, Johnny!" If this happened during a formal observation it'd be a guaranteed "unsatisfactory," something that could put even a tenured teacher's career in danger.* But would Steph's bosses have even noticed without a public outcry? Hell, did they even notice anyway?

But was this an isolated incident? I say no, even if you only consider that interview, here's just a few of the questions a real journalist might have asked: 

1) Why should Bam's top priority be a danger that kills less Americans per year than falls in the bathtub and choking on tortilla chips? 
2) You say you want Bam's fight against terrorists to be "real, not rhetorical." But just previously you said "thank God he finally used the word 'war on terror.'" So who's really being rhetorical here?
3) As a former prosecutor and a member of the American Bar, do you believe the US criminal justice system or not? Can you see any danger in creating a special class of suspects to whom it doesn't apply?

And yes, I can accept there are answers to some of these questions that are at least within the range of sane debate (though mostly just barely). The point is these are the kinds of questions that are _routinely_ not even asked.  

I'd like to hope this would be the week that people see that the Sunday Talk charade finally jumped the shark. But I'm not getting my hopes up.

* yes, tenure protects teachers' jobs. But there are many ways around these rules that are can be used by competent administrators, something the system lacks far more desperately than competen teachers. But that's another blog.