(by Dennis Prager, HumanEvents.com) – Just as Charlie Gibson did in his interview with Sarah Palin, Katie Couric set out to humiliate the Republican vice-presidential candidate with a series of “gotcha” questions.
This tactic — rarely employed with major liberal candidates — could be used equally effectively against Couric, or most any other liberal member of the television news media. It would be highly instructive to have Couric asked questions in the same way in which she (and Gibson) asked questions of Palin.
For example [Some questions for Katie Couric]:
QUESTION [#1]: Critics of the war in Iraq argue that prior to the invasion of Iraq, America had never attacked a country that had no plans to attack it. How then do you explain the Korean War?
On my radio show, I have asked this question of some of the most celebrated names among liberal intellectuals, and they had little or nothing to say. One major editor simply admitted that he had little familiarity with that war. That is too bad because America invaded a country that had absolutely no intention, let alone ability, to attack the United States. The United States attacked Korea — and sacrificed over 30,000 American lives — solely in order to prevent Korea from becoming a totalitarian Communist state. We succeeded in the southern half, and over 50 years later, North Korea remains essentially a gigantic concentration camp.
QUESTION [#2]: Many Americans believe that the most important way of understanding the effects of taxation on government revenues is the Laffer Curve. What is your opinion about this?
The Laffer Curve, which, unlike the “Bush Doctrine,” is objectively definable, is perhaps the most important economic argument against tax increases — because at a given point of increased taxation, the government will actually receive less tax revenue, not more. It would be quite surprising if many TV news people, including anchors, could define this economic theory, let alone intelligently discuss it.
QUESTION [#3]: Is there any point in a woman’s pregnancy at which you would call an abortion immoral?
Couric spent some time trying to show how immoral Palin’s anti-abortion position is, since it even extends to cases of rape or incest. That was not necessarily unfair questioning. Even some who believe that human life begins at conception are prepared to allow abortions in the case of rape or incest. But it would be highly educational for Americans to see the tables reversed on pro-choice people: Are there any circumstances when a pro-choice person is prepared to make a moral judgment on killing a human fetus? How about during the third trimester (presuming, of course, that the pregnancy poses no threat to the life or health of the mother)? Or when an abortion is performed solely for convenience (for example, a married woman who was planning to start a new business or to take a long-planned trip abroad — and the pregnancy therefore came at an inconvenient time)?
Some more possible questions:
QUESTION [#4]: Members of the news media believe, correctly, that individuals running for political office, because of their potentially great impact on American life, should subject themselves to interview after interview about their views, values, personal life and knowledge base by often hostile members of the news media. But, the most powerful members of the news media, people who have more impact on American life than almost any politician in America, do not allow themselves to be interviewed about their views, values, personal life and knowledge of the issues. Why not?
QUESTION [#5]: Which of the Federalist Papers do you think is most important? Why?
QUESTION [#6]: In a question to Palin, you said that “women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.” If that is so, why don’t employers only hire women whenever possible? What employer wouldn’t want to save 23 percent for the same work? Is it possible that many women choose more flexible hours, want jobs with less travel and may choose less demanding work given their desire to be home more?
QUESTION [#7]: On one of your CBS newscasts this year, you said: “A new study on teens and sexual harassment should give every parent pause. … In a study that appeared in the journal Child Development, 90 percent of teen girls say they’ve been harassed at least once.” Did you read that report? If not, how do you justify reporting it on a national newscast in order to alarm “every parent”? The report defines sexism and sexual harassment as including “sexist comments about their academic abilities, sexist comments about their athletic abilities … demeaning gender-related comments, teasing based on their appearance, and unwanted physical contact.” In other words, if a boy says to a girl, “You throw a ball like a girl!” that is deemed an instance of sexual harassment. Isn’t that somewhat hysterical?
QUESTION [#8]: What did you think of any articles in the most recent issues of Commentary, The Weekly Standard, National Review or any other conservative journal? Or do you only read liberal writing?
While every conservative pundit, commentator and talk show host I know of is regularly exposed to liberal thought, the opposite is not the case. It would be fascinating to learn how much Couric knows about how half the country thinks.
Copyright ©2008 Salem Web Network, October 7th, 2008. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here on October 9th with permission from Townhall.com and Dennis Prager. Visit the website at DennisPrager.townhall.com. Mr. Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show based in Los Angeles. He is the author of four books, most recently “Happiness is a Serious Problem” (HarperCollins). His website is www.dennisprager.com.
1. What is the main point of Dennis Prager’s commentary?
2. a) Do you think that journalists themselves should be interviewed about their views, values, personal life and knowledge of the issues? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent to read this commentary and answer the same question. Discuss your answers.
3. Do you think all of Dennis Prager’s questions for Katie Couric are reasonable? Explain your answer.
4. Re-read the last paragraph. Do you agree with Dennis Prager’s assertion? Explain your answer.
OPTIONAL: Email your reaction to Mr. Pragers’s commentary to
DennisPrager@DennisPrager.com. Remember to identify yourself (name, school, state), name the article you are commenting on, and that you read it at StudentNewsDaily.com. Be clear, concise and polite.