I couldn’t agree more with this article. We have a man running for president who refuses to release any details about his tax plan. When Paul Ryan attempted to dodge the question during the debate, the moderator called him on it.
Raddatz did exactly the right thing. She asked a yes-or-no question, had a politician try to run the lamest kind of game on her – and when he was done, she called him on it, coming right back to the question and translating for viewers: “No specifics.”
Think about what that means. Mitt Romney is running for president – for president! – promising an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without offering any details about how that’s going to be paid for. Forget being battered by the press, he and his little sidekick Ryan should both be tossed off the playing field for even trying something like that. This race for the White House, this isn’t some frat prank. This is serious. This is for grownups, for God’s sake.
And the author’s comment below about the overzealous pursuit of perceived objectivity is especially important these days.
Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can’t report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit.
The Romney/Ryan ticket decided, with incredible cynicism, that that they were going to promise this massive tax break, not explain how to pay for it, and then just hang on until election day, knowing that most of the political press would let it skate […]
And most of the political press has let them skate.
Far too often the press reports two arguments as if they both have equal merit. Often, they do not. Often, one is serious and one is nonsense. This isn’t called objectivity. This is called doing a disservice to your audience.
This is why Raddatz got it right. She asked a simple question (“Do you have specifics about your tax plan?”), saw Paul Ryan try to dodge it, and called him out. Biden laughed because anyone attempting to push a “plan” that isn’t actually a plan deserves to be mocked.