Cal Thomas pushes a change in media interrogation of GOP presidential contenders

Cal Thomas devotes his latest column to the partisan questions fired at Republican presidential candidates during last weekend’s network news shows.

These were the types of accusatory questions that would never be asked of a Democratic president. One would not expect to hear, for example, a question like this to President Obama:

“Mr. President, millions of babies have been legally aborted in this country since 1973; how can you so callously dismiss unborn children, many of whom would now be productive, taxpaying citizens, by taking a pro-choice stance on abortion?”

This is how it works: If you are a journalist who clearly favors the re-election of Obama, you ask questions of Republicans in an effort to make them look foolish, forcing them to address subjects other than the economy and threats to national security. When you question Democrats, you ask questions people care most about and usually allow the answer, however inaccurate, to go unchallenged.

During last Sunday’s NBC News/Facebook debate on “Meet the Press,” the conservative Media Research Center (mrc.org) found that, “Out of the 41 questions directed to the six Republican presidential candidates … 25 of them were from the left, 13 questions were neutral, mainly about the campaign horse race and electability, and only three questions pressed the candidates from the right.”

Thomas’ solution? The “equivalent of a Tebow option play.”

They should refuse to participate in any more dog-and-pony shows designed to trip them up. Instead, they should create their own panels with an ideological mix of interrogators.

Invite a couple of “wild card” conservative partisans like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity to add to the journalistic mix. If the “Miss America” contest could invite Limbaugh as a judge in 2010, why can’t the Republican presidential candidates invite him, or Hannity, to judge and question them?

The ratings would be huge and the public would get better answers to more substantive questions than the “gotcha” questions they must now endure.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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