Ambush Journalism

In selling their souls to the Democrat Party, American journalists have lost their credibility and become lazy to the point of resorting to ambush journalism in a pathetic attempt to remain relevant to a public that has learned to tune them out.

The embarrassing performance by Fox News in moderating the Iowa debates has awakened Americans to the fact that Fox News is neither fair, nor balanced when it comes to political coverage. Their slogan has been exposed as yet another marketing subterfuge designed to camouflage their gradual leftward slide. Chris Wallace’s attempt at a “gotcha” moment with Newt Gingrich was swatted down to the approval of an audience more interested in hearing the candidates discuss the issues than defend against journalistic distractions.

The entire format of the Iowa debates insured that viewers would not learn anything of substance from the candidates and was designed with multiple opportunities for the journalists to inflate their egos while embarrassing the candidates. First, the number of candidates sharing the stage practically guaranteed that the lesser candidates would be ignored in deference to the supposed front runners. As the lower tier candidates awaited their turn in the spotlight, they were gradually lulled into lowering their defenses, thus guaranteeing maximum shock effect when ambushed. Second, candidates were pitted against each other in careful matchups designed to promote fireworks in the mistaken thought that the audience valued a slugfest over a substantial examination of candidate positions. Third, candidates were asked different questions which contributed to an apples and oranges comparison format that never gave the audience a chance to properly decide candidate positions on relevant issues.

It is entirely fitting that Chris Wallace spent Friday attempting to defend his sorry performance at the debate. Chris practically telegraphed his ambushes with his characteristic smirk that has become so grating on viewers who’ve learned not to expect much from his questions other than to feel badly for the object of his particular venom. It was heartening to see the candidates stand up to this abuse, and their pushback actually helped to endear them to voters who at least felt sympathy for their plight even if they weren’t prepared to embrace their candidacy. Bret Baier managed to alienate those conservatives who applauded his tough interview with President Obama last year with his clumsy attempts at humor at the expense of the candidates.

President Obama has been revealed as a progressive charlatan out of his depth and ill-prepared to handle the multiple crises America faces with a sinking economy at home and growing diplomacy failures abroad. Americans are keenly aware that this is an important election and wish to avoid a repeat of the shallow media coverage that allowed Obama to ascend to the Oval Office as they substituted hope for awareness in their selection. The overwhelming consensus of Americans is that their country is on the wrong track and Obama’s progressive policies are making bad situations worse. Americans are demanding a thorough vetting of the Republican candidates this time around as they seek someone capable of righting the mess Obama has made while avoiding the chance that Obama might be reelected facing a weak opponent whose faults were not discovered in time for proper consideration.

It is no wonder Americans are tuning out an increasingly biased media in favor of alternatives that present news of current events limited to the facts involved without analysis that insults their intelligence by offering nothing of substance and only thinly veiled defenses of progressive policies. Do today’s crop of journalists even know how to properly research and report a hard-hitting story, or have they become so lazy colluding with the Democrats that they no longer feel compelled to go through the motions? Until their abysmal performance in the Iowa debate, Fox News had largely escaped the taint of progressive collusion amply demonstrated by MSNBC and CNN on the strength of their “Fair and Balanced” tagline. Now the rest of America is discovering what conservatives who have quietly tuned out Bill O’Reilly for his inane defense of Obama’s superior intellect know to be true. Fox News is sliding leftward and no longer attempting to curry the viewership of conservative Americans.

Shepard Smith is an awful newscaster who is constantly upstaged by more talented stand-ins such as Harris Faulkner who make far fewer verbal gaffes when reading the nightly news script. The news has become just another reality show as viewers are subjected to a constant barrage of updates on the day’s big story instead of covering other worthwhile stories and breaking in when something of interest actually occurs. Shep spoke exclusively of the Casey Anthony verdict in true 24-hour news fashion while waiting for something, anything to happen. He could have easily covered other news but chose to drone on about nothing to fill the time and waste the viewers’ attention.

A much better format for a candidate field this large would be to conduct a series of in-depth interviews where candidates were posed the same questions relating to various foreign and domestic issues with enough time to provide thoughtful and nuanced replies that give voters an insight into their approach to problem solving. These interviews would be conducted on the same day to prevent candidates from preparing canned responses or taking advantage of an opponent’s reply, then be broadcast either individually or edited to group candidate replies to individual questions. The debate format is best reserved for the final two candidates who have the opportunity to spar over issues and provide contrast to the voters.

We Americans demand more of the fourth estate than this embarrassing performance, which is why we are abandoning traditional news outlets in droves to embrace alternatives that provide the information we need to make objective decisions without the fluff and staged drama of reality shows. If we are lucky, then a new crop of journalists will emerge determined not to wallow in the pathetic laziness of those who presently wear their biases for all to see. Perhaps they will rediscover rigorous research and hard-nosed reporting that seeks the truth even when it leads to places at odds with their beliefs. Until then, the current disappointing bunch can’t retire fast enough.

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One Response to Ambush Journalism

  1. That description of journalism right there at the end, that’s the type of journalist I want to be. I’m in school studying journalism and the way the debates were handled, the way journalism today is handled in general, is just so absolutely shameful.
    That’s one of the major reasons I decided to go into Journalism. I love writing, I love research and I love finding out the truth, regardless of where that truth leads me. ‘

    I hope that it leads to me to realizing my ideals have been right all along, but if it doesn’t *shrug* that’s life.

    That was a great post. And I loved the idea for how the debates should be dealt with using interviews, rather than debates.

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