Garry Trudeau, the leftist author/artist of the comic strip Doonesbury, gave an interview about Twitter to the Mediabistro blog WebNewser, where he displayed his snooty distaste for "populist pandering" to the little people. When asked if any TV news stars were particularly annoying on Twitter, he unfurled a general pet peeve instead: asking for "obvious or inane" interview questions from the public. Without irony, Trudeau suggested journalists were like pilots or surgeons:
Not in particular (hey, I like TV news folks -- married one! [longtime NBC liberal Jane Pauley]), but in general the most baffling are the reporters who solicit their followers for questions before interviews. Please. You're supposed to be professionals. Do pilots and surgeons ask for suggestions?
If you can't think of a few good questions, you and your producer are in the wrong business. It's not about getting fresh, out-of-the-bubble perspectives, as they would argue: most questions sent in are obvious or inane. It's really about flattering the followers, populist pandering.
This is rich territory for Trudeau to trudge upon, considering some of Jane Pauley’s inane questions. (To Hillary Clinton, 1992: "You prepared Chelsea: Bad things may be said about Daddy. Was Chelsea at all prepared for bad things being said about Mommy?" And: "What do you not do perfectly?")
Obviously, a media professional should have the ability and creativity to construct their own interview questions. Journalism is an important field. But no one should compare it to flying a 747 or performing brain surgery. To assume that people in the general public don’t have intelligent questions for a president or cabinet member would seem to presume that the public isn’t really wise enough to cast an intelligent vote.
Elitist liberal, thy name is Garry Trudeau.
[Image borrowed from About.com: Political Humor]