| || |
Electric Kool-Aid Alligator Test
December 29, 2011 - Jim Anderson
At this time of year, news watchdogs like to hand out faux awards.
It’s fun to take a glance at them.
I’m puzzled by a runners-up award given by Media Research Center (MRC) to Bob Schieffer of CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
In listing the year’s worst reporting, Schieffer is listed by MRC under the “Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year.”
On Oct. 30, Schieffer was doing an interview with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain (remember him?) when he asked this question:
“You also said at one point that you might want to back that (border) fence up with a moat and fill it with alligators. Was that a joke, too?”
Apparently, MRC considers it dopey — or wacky — of Schieffer to ask if Cain really did want a border fence with a moat.
Keep in mind that Cain, a GOP front-runner at the time, also talked about sealing off the border with an electric fence with a sign on it that said, "This fence can kill you." Cain later said the electric fence was a joke ... sort of.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange for which MRC is ridiculing Schieffer:
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. You talked some about the missteps you have made in the campaign. I want to clear up just a couple of things to make sure your position —
HERMAN CAIN (overlapping): Sure.
BOB SCHIEFFER: — is on the record. Uh, you — you talked about — at one point, talking about immigration, you talked about sealing off the border with an electric fence that had barbed wire on the top and with a sign on it that said, "This fence can kill you." Now, you said that. Then you went on Meet The Press and told David Gregory, "Listen, I was just kidding. That was a joke." But then, the next day, you said well, an electric fence is part of it. And so, I want to ask you, do you think part of solving this problem is putting an electric fence on — on the border?
HERMAN CAIN: I believe that solving the illegal immigration problem means solving four problems. First, secure the border for real that will be part of it secured with a fence, not necessarily electric but a fence. Another part with technology and another part with troops because of some of the areas that are so dangerous. So it will be a combination of the three. And yes, I said that was an over exaggeration. Secondly, we've got to promote the path of citizenship that's already here. We've got to enforce the laws that are already here. And we've got to empower the states to do what the federal government is not doing. I was in Alabama yesterday. They passed some laws and now the Justice Department, the Obama administration is coming down on them just like they came down on Arizona. I don't agree with that. I believe that the actions that Alabama took and that Arizona took to try and defend themselves and to do something about this is the right thing to do.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You also said at one point that you might want to back that fence up with a moat and fill it with alligators. Was that —
HERMAN CAIN (overlapping): That was —
BOB SCHIEFFER: — a joke too?
HERMAN CAIN: That was totally in jest, Bob. Some people are getting used to my sense of humor. And as I get more attention, I will tone down the sense of humor until I become President because America needs to get a sense of humor.
BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. So — that would be pretty expensive by the way.
HERMAN CAIN: Right. It probably would.
In reading the transcript, it seems that Schieffer’s question was meant, more or less, to call attention to Cain’s unique — and imprecise — style. Schieffer’s followup observation about a moat and alligators being expensive was deadpan funny.
Yes, of course, Cain was joking about the alligators.
But it was his dopey joke in the first place — not Schieffer’s.
News, Blogs & Events Web