The present state of iciness between the media and the Trump administration is not beneficial for democracy. The daily appearance of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer before the media is usually fraught with nastiness, obfuscation and outright lies.
The press is an integral component of a healthy transparent government. No doubt some things must be kept secret in the interest of public security, and politicians do tend to bend things to their own advantage. But skilled members of the media find ways around those word games. The current conditions go beyond a bit of trickery, with Spicer often treating the assembled media like school children.
Today’s media could take a lesson from the world of entertainment. Old time entertainment at that. Back in the days of Vaudeville the audience had recourse to have a poor act stopped. Aside from hurling tomatoes and insults they would call for “The Hook”.
“Give him the hook!” “The hook” they would shout if an act did not impress them. Indeed once the calls became loud enough a large hook would appear from the wings and the bombing act would be yanked off stage, to hoots of derision from the audience.
I think the media should employ a hook of their own. When spokespeople deliberately ignore a question, or choose to respond with another question they are no longer being honest. And most importantly anytime a person begins a response to a question by saying “Well, I think the real question here is …” then goes on to answer their own question they should be given the hook. It’s a question and answer session, or an interview, not an opportunity to ignore questions and spout rhetoric from a soapbox. Yank them right off the podium.
Should a hook be deemed too intrusive, I suggest another means of dealing with a poor act: a gong. Chuck Barris had the right idea with his Gong Show. Next time Spicer answers his own question instead of the one posed the gathered members of the media should sound a very large loud gong!