Hard Questions, Evasive Answers: McCain and Layton put to the Test

Here on this blog, I have often remarked on and attempted to draw attention to the frightful state of the popular media, and the disgusting pandering, fear mongering, and propaganda that is spewed from their airwaves. However, from time to time, I come across examples which allow me a respite, and offer a light in the darkness. In these brief moments of legitimate liberal engagement, as mental atrophy is halted with the exercise of critical thought, important issues of personal and political value resurface with reinvigorating results. Today, on a day of memorial, two such examples of investigative cross-examination solidified the grand opportunity we have as citizens of free nations, to question the imposed realities around us through finely tuned critical lenses.

The first example comes from Anna Marie Tremonti, host of the CBC Radio One program, the Current. This morning Anna Marie had the opportunity to interview Jack Layton, leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada, and asked his pointed questions regarding his economic proposals, and the legitimacy of his criticisms. As Layton attempted to sidestep fundamentally important flaws in his initiatives, flaws that in my opinion are expressly designed to shore up political capital through criticism of the ruling Conservative Party’s agendas without an expectation of success in their own NDP agendas, Anna Marie vigorously and repeatedly drew Layton back to the examination floor. Tremonti, with what appeared to be a fixed objective of garnering a clear, concise and forthright answer, relentlessly pursued the NDP leader until his exasperation and frustration was evident, and the hypocrisy broke through. (Listen Here)

The second example comes from the great U.S. of A., our oftentimes journalistically stagnate neighbor to the south. In an interview with Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, Rob Caldwell of WCSH6, an NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine, repeatedly had to reiterate his questions regarding the qualifications of McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, as McCain gave evasive and generalized answers. In one profound moment within the interview, McCain expresses Palin as one who “knows more about energy then just about anyone in the country” due to the fact that second greatest export of her state is oil. Caldwell continues to question the importance of such minimalist qualifications with regards to national security, an issue that McCain repeatedly pronounces as “the greatest threat” to the traditional way of life. Caldwell’s refusal to allow a sound bite without substance or qualification forces McCain into a logistical corner from which he fails to emerge. (Watch Here) (If that link not working, you can watch it here)

Regardless of your personal preference on the political spectrum, or your cynical view of the political leanings behind either CBC or NBC, you have to admire the tenacity and determination exhibited by both Anna Maria Tremonti and Rob Caldwell as journalists. If we are willing to pay attention to the hypocrisy exposed through legitimate investigative journalism, and avoid the spin of politically charged pundits, we have the great opportunity of objective judgments based on rational facts. The more we support such individuals, the greater their influence will be within their respective media centers, and hopefully, the more like them we will see.

For a different and equally instuctive view on the issue, click here to see what another Canadian thought of this mornings broadcast on CBC. It just goes to show that there is a wide variety of opinion available, and no one opinion is better then another.


~ by maffersalmon on September 11, 2008.

8 Responses to “Hard Questions, Evasive Answers: McCain and Layton put to the Test”

  1. Wow, I’d love to see her interview the American candidates! She got “all up in his grill!” Amazing! She certainly did her homework and didn’t back down on her questions.

    Layton is, in my opinion, Canada’s Obama when it comes to the issues. As you know, coming from me, that’s not a compliment.

    As for the McCain clip. I’d really like to see more of the interview. I just watched the 2 minute YouTube clip. I’ll watch the longer one later and comment.

  2. The comparison of Layton and Obama shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the positions and legitimacy of the two individuals. I don’t think Tremonti would be willing to give you a free pass on that one at all. Glad you liked the interviews though. Hope we can get a few more interviews like that before these two elections are over.

  3. So I finally watched the full interview with McCain. I, being biased of course, think he handled it quite well. I wouldn’t say he was overly evasive. He tried once to get his talking points in, and when he couldn’t, he answered the question as best he could.

    Oh, and I don’t mean that Layton and Obama have the same stance on the issues, but rather I mean that they’re both wrong on the issues. Again, in my biased opinion.

  4. Wrong on the issues…You know, I hadn’t heard it put that way before. Ever. Ben, I wonder if you’ll ever stop using that tired closing argument on every comment? I think it’s time to start looking for a new dead horse to beat…

  5. Here’s an idea, Nathaniel, let’s look back at how many times I’ve made personal attacks on you. For someone who claims that you don’t often get worked up over this kind of stuff, you’re sure having a hard time convincing me. I mean, I was just clarifying a previous statement I had made about on of the Canadian leadership candidates. Why must you throw such a hissy fit every time I mention my OPINION on Obama’s stance on the issues? I mean, even when I fully disclose that I am basing my opinion on my conservative bias, you have to take issue with it. Ever thought of getting a job at the Huffington Post? Or maybe MSNBC is hiring?

  6. Easy there trigger (and to think I was accused last week of being dramatic). I’m not attacking you personally – just think you are a lot smarter than saying “you’re wrong” all the time. You’re very good at dishing it out man, I’m just having a go at you, and expected you’d be able to take it.

    I think MSNBC is hiring actually, McCain and his friends just got Matthews and Olbermann fired, so maybe I’ll give that a go.


  7. Ben, easy there cowboy.
    That was NOT a personal attack. He was an attack on an inflated and often used claim that is typically used to present ones own ideas as accurate, and the opposing ideas of others as false, or “wrong”. If something is “wrong” then it is “bad” and those who support it are “wrong” and “bad”. Why are they “wrong”? Why are they “bad”? It is not an academic closing statement, nor is it an insightful closing remark.

    As for bias, of course it is there. But can you examine your own bias and bracket it for the sake of discovery? Why does the refusal to allow one candidate to repeat his talking points that circumvent the actual issue seem justified and good, when the same strategy used on the other candidate, whom you profess to be biased in favor of, come across as good example of the candidate composing himself? Is there a contradiction there? I used examples from both sides of the political spectrum to illustrate the role of media, not to attack one or the other.

    This is not a critique of your ideas, just an invitation to dig deeper. Your conclusions and observations may still come to the same point, and the is the wonderful aspect of democracy. Your opinions are not “wrong” or “right”. They are your opinions. But lets be academic about it. 🙂
    i don’t know if emoticons are academic… but i don’t care…. i like them 🙂

  8. I don’t think emoticons are all that bad. But again, that’s just my opinion! 😛

    Ok, let me admit that I was actually deliberately jumping to a conclusion and reading in to Nathaniel’s comments to make a point. Turn around is fair play, right? 😉

    As for the right/wrong vs. good/bad issue, I think they’re completely different things. Wrong does not equal bad. I don’t think Obama’s a bad person, but I think he’s wrong. I’ve explained in length in the other post about the many ways that I think he’s wrong, especially when it comes to economics. I don’t feel the need to explore that again. Anyway, I’m sure Obama is a good guy who sincerely thinks that his ideas will help revive the American economy. Unfortunately I think his ideas will severely cripple an already fragile economy. Hence Obama is (IMO) wrong but not bad. The unfortunate thing is that his popularity and pseudo-celebrity status have infused an emotional response into his issues that cloud the truth and make his wrong ideas appear right to many. Then, of course, the spin doctors get a hold of a few of his quotes and make them sound revolutionary, and the gullible masses just eat it all up.

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