One of the more annoying features of the 2016 US presidential campaign, and there are many annoying features, is the outright refusal of candidate ‘surrogates’ to answer questions. Gone are the days when a spokesperson would shrewdly turn a difficult question about their candidate into a statement about the other guy. Now the strategy is to just answer what you want, no skill involved at all.
White House Press Secretaries have been dodging unwanted questions for decades, but at least they finesse it. The current group of TV analysts does not even bother with that, they just say what they want and assume the viewing public are idiots.
Time and time again talking heads from both parties when posed with a question about their candidate merely respond with a statement about the other candidate. No couching it in smart wordplay, no nuance, no skill. You could ask Candidate X’s surrogate why their candidate said a woman was fat and the surrogate may well begin her response with something along the lines of What I really want to know is why Candidate Y …
No, that is not a suitable answer, but it has become commonplace for spokespersons to use what is supposed to be a reply to a question as an opportunity to say something that is completely irrelevant to the question but positive for their candidate. I don’t know why the media continues to have these people on. Banning them until they at least make an effort to answer questions may do the trick.
I think that perhaps this bald-faced evasion of questions should be introduced to some everyday events. The next time a cop stops me and asks if I know how fast I was going, or if I saw the stop sign, I’m going to say but officer what I really want to know is why the police are no longer wearing ties as part of their uniform.
When my landlord asks where my rent is I’ll just point out that what is more important is the price of gas.
Kids at school, when asked for their missing homework, will no longer have to resort to blaming the dog. They can just say but these uniforms are not comfortable. No need at all to address the actual question.