Former Democrat operative and current Democrat-operative-pretending-to-be-a-journalist George Stephanopoulos was at it too during Saturday night’s debate. The Clinton hatchet man asked Mitt Romney a (literally) out-of-left-field question about the 1965 Supreme Court decision that forbid states from banning contraception by discovering a hitherto unheard-of “right to privacy” in the U.S. Constitution. Taken aback by the question’s irrelevance, Romney said he found the whole issue “kind of a silly thing.” The studio audience clearly agreed and let Stephanopoulos know it by booing him.
In this case, it’s not that Stephanopoulos asked the question in a particularly twisted way, it’s that the question itself was intended not to elicit information but to play off audience emotionalism. It clearly had no other purpose than to deceive the listener by distorting the candidate’s image. It was about a Democrat working for Democrats trying to discomfit a Republican candidate for the sake of the Democrats. Left-wing pundits caught the ball and carried it forward the next morning.
Our media — so many of them, like Stephanopoulos, Democrats working for Democrats for the good of the Democrats — consistently confuse principle with prejudice and process with purpose. They then attempt to obscure the confusion with hot button issues that arouse emotions rather than thoughts. They ask about abortion when they should be asking about the behavior of the courts. They ask about contraception when they should be asking about the reach of the federal government. They know we have strong feelings on these specific issues and hope those strong feelings might induce us to forget the terrible long-term price we pay for scuttling the Constitution in order to get our way short-term.
It doesn’t have to be like this. There are questions that need to be asked and journalists could easily ask them. The fact that they don’t speaks to their purposes. They make us stupid because stupid is how they want us.