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March 07, 2011

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of a High-Ranking Congresswoman Attemtping to Make News & the Strangely Incurious "Reporter"

Yesterday on David Gregory's show, two people remained relentlessly on-message. Michelle Bachman was determined to make, and repeat, the charge that Obama had deceptively and corruptly procured $105 billion in "pre-funding" for ObamaCare that apparently binds future Congresses.

How?, you might ask. I would ask that too. David Gregory, however, did not; as relentless as Bachman was in making the point, David Gregory was equally relentless in refusing to even ask a question about it.

But the media will portray this as a case of one person offering an interview with an agenda. Not as two people doing this.

I have a lot of questions about Michelle Bachman's charge. I'm curious about several things. Is it true, as she alleges, that almost no Congressmen at all knew about this $105 billion in pre-funding? What is the actual money for? I saw a stray reference to the money being procured to make sure ObamaCare passed; does that mean it consists largely of earmarks for reluctant Congressmen's districts, pork in exchange for a dangerous vote? How does one Congress bind the next Congress with such spending demands? Has this been done before?

Those would be my questions for Representative Bachmann. And note, even if you're an Obama-worshipping liberal like David Gregory, those questions should occur to you, too: If your goal is to refute Bachmann, how can you do that without getting her to commit, on the record, to the specifics of her charge?

But David Gregory would have none of that. Here's an alleged newsman, interviewing a newsmaker, who is in fact attempting, with all of her heart, to make news. She is offering a new charge. She's debuting it here. Premiering it. Giving David Gregory a scoop. Trying her best to get a supposed newsman to take an interest in new news.

She tried; she failed. David Gregory had no interest whatsoever in this. And again I stress: Even a committed liberal (as Gregory is) should have an interest in figuring out the details of this, if only to try to claim she's lying.

David Gregory relentlessly stayed on his own message: asking and re-asking if Bachmann would shut the government down over these "political" spending questions. (Later in the show, he made a strict distinction between spending cuts which are "not political" and spending cuts -- to liberal favorites NPR, Planned Parenthood, and ObamaCare -- which are "political" and therefore unreasonable. He never explained why cuts to programs other than these should be considered "not political.")

Let me turn to Gregory's agenda: He kept asking the same question. He was attempting to get Michelle Bachmann to commit to either shutting the government down or not shutting it down.

It's a trap question, because any answer she gives helps Obama. If she says she'll shut the government down over these "political" spending cuts, then Gregory and Obama can paint her as an "extremist" who refuses to "compromise" and therefore pressure the GOP to relent on these questions -- Heads Obama wins.

If she says she's willing to compromise and give on these points, then she has absolutely no negotiating position when she goes to the table, and Obama himself can threaten to shut down the government because he knows Bachmann will fold -- in this case, she would have already announced she'd fold, after all. Tails Bachmann loses.

Now, why isn't Obama asked these questions? Why wasn't Richard Daley (the previous guest) dogged again and again with the question? Why isn't Obama being forced to admit he's either an "extremist" who will not compromise, or someone so interested in compromise that he'll sell out his own position in a heartbeat?

Because that would hurt Obama's position. So they don't ask him. They don't ask anyone in the Obama administration. Nor do they ask any of the Democratic congressmen and senators allied with Obama. They are allowed to keep a strong negotiating position without committing themselves to a policy of no compromise (which would sound bad in a soundbite), but damnit, no conservative shall be allowed this useful posture.

So again and again Bachmann presses with her agenda, and again and again David Gregory refuses to ask a single question about what she's actually talking about, demanding she answer to his agenda, which is "Announce you're either an 'extremist' or announce you're folding on all of your policies."

There is no question that when a politician does what Bachmann did, she winds up looking a bit robotic and scripted and inhumanly on-message. It looks bad.

But this is precisely what the liberal media demands conservatives do if they want any hope of getting their message out. If a liberal makes news in this way, David Gregory will of course go exactly where the liberal wants to take the discussion. He'll start asking lots of questions about this new, shiny line of attack.

But when a conservative attempts to do so? He goes into Stepford Wife mode and just repeats the same trap question over and over.

Correction: This wasn't actually a true scoop she was offering; apparently she talked about it in Greta Van Susstren a few days before.

Okay, not a true scoop, but I hadn't heard the charge, and apparently neither did David Gregory, so it was new to most of us.

My point still stands. It is insane that someone comes on to an interview show attempting to make news and the alleged newsman interviewing her "refuses to play her game."

What, the game of eliciting information from a guest?

You're above that, David Gregory?

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posted by Ace at 12:27 PM

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