The Hayride

Rough Night For Juan Williams Last Night

Rough Night For Juan Williams Last Night
July 15
09:53 2011

What Hannity did to him was unforgivable.

Not really, but I’d have been kinda ticked off at getting sandbagged like this.

One thing this shows, though, is there are some pitfalls to taking the blind partisan position on complex political issues. We take a pretty strong ideological position here, but we – or at least I – try to make a distinction between an ideological position and a partisan one. When I see Republicans doing stupid things, I’m even more enthusiastic about calling them out.

And there are way too many pundits out there, particularly on cable news, who carry water for one side or another without at least allowing that there may be some weak points in their arguments.

Political consultants make lots of money by advising their clients – whether they’re politicians or not – to “stay on message” when they go on TV. They’re told to spit out a set of talking points first, before they say anything else, because the interviewer otherwise might lead them into making a gaffe.

This has really poisoned the political dialogue to an extent, because it robs folks of candor. You’re a more effective advocate for your position if you acknowledge its weaknesses as well as its strengths, and if you’re asked a question you should answer it or at least say why you don’t want to.

Otherwise you end up looking like this guy, who is the head of the Labor Party in the U.K. and who is forever marked as a mindless twit. But he managed to stay on message and somewhere, some hack political consultant thinks this is a good example of how to do an interview…


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