I was eating breakfast and catching up on reading this morning, while my wife was rolling through some recorded Today shows from the past week, including coverage of the Republican convention.
I’m not a big fan of any politician and I have even less respect for so-called journalists. The Today show coverage was blatantly tilted.
In the general coverage we learned that Mitt and Paul watched the convention from their boxes “looking uncomfortable at times” and that Mitt’s speech was “short on policy discussion.” We also learned that Clint Eastwood’s speech was “unorthodox” for a political convention.
These slants got me to thinking how the coverage will be different for the DNC convention. I expect we’ll learn that Obama and Biden looked poised and how their speeches energized the crowds. If the DNC has a counter to Eastwood, it will be innovative and fresh.
Then, Savannah Guthrie interviewed Ann Romney. It appeared Savannah was fishing for her Couric moment. To be clear, that’s the moment every empty suit journalist appears to dream about. It’s the moment when you ask such an absolute ridiculous question of a political candidate that you clearly despise, and you get a ridiculous answer. Couric proved out that most people will only remember the ridiculous answer, not the ridiculous question, especially if that’s all you remind them about. I’ll hand it to Katie. Many people never questioned dumb assumption that the magazines a candidate reads matters.
Guthrie first tried to knock Mrs. Romney off guard using Eastwood as the segue from the general coverage, asking some sort of nonsense question about how Eastwood’s speech didn’t really go as planned.
Ann looked puzzled, answering with something like, We thought he did fine. We had a good time.
Cue up attempted Couric moment: Later, Guthrie asked Mrs. Romney if she could name a specific policy that her husband supports that will help women. As Romney begins to speak calmly, I believe Guthrie realizes that she didn’t do a good enough job at shocking Mrs. Romney, so she interrupts her guest and adds a clarifying condition, in true 5-year-old playground-tag-rule-making fashion (“you can only stay on base for 5 seconds”): it has to be something specific that only benefits women, it can’t be something that benefits both men and women.
Mrs. Romney looked a bit more puzzled and rattled off something that sounded as good as any beauty pageant contestant does when asked a dumb question during the question-and-answer competition and they assume it bad form just to say, sorry, that’s a dumb question, can I have another?
If I was reading Mrs. Romney’s eyes correctly (or maybe just imagining how I would answer Savannah), I think she really wanted to answer:
Savannah, dear, what a dumb question. How on Earth did you pass your civics class? Do you not understand the President’s role?
His role is not to pick winners and losers, which is what he would be doing if he supported a SPECIFIC policy that would “help” women — whatever that means.
The President’s role is to defend our country to keep every man, WOMAN and child safe from foreign invaders and uphold the Constitution so that every man, WOMAN and child can enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unencumbered by heavy-handed government and free of interference from our neighbors.
Well, at least Romney’s answer was good enough not to be used as future empty fodder against her husband and Guthrie will have to keep trying to find her Couric moment.
But, note to Guthrie — whose own success defeats her perception of unfairness to women that the President needs to fix — Couric isn’t all that hot anymore. Why not go for a lasting career. Become a good journalist. Drop the Howard Stern shock jock tactics. There’s still time.