“Senator, how are you gonna help the American auto worker?”
Peggy Agar of Detroit’s Channel 7 WXYZ had been sent to get a soundbite from a candidate. The soundbite she wanted, and the soundbite her listeners wanted, was about automobile plants closing. The soundbite he gave her was “Hold on one second, sweetie“. The question was never answered.
For Agar the question was about local jobs, but the blogosphere as usual put its own interpretation on the exchange. On one typical thread, some claimed not to understand why calling any adult professional “sweety” was offensive. Others railed at the news service for publishing it at all. ‘Jay from the west’ said,
Are you kidding? come on lets not make a mountian out of a mole will. He was just being nice, its no tlike he slapped her on the backside and told her to “get” or anything.
Egad! What DO they think of professional women out there in “the west”?
A commmenter on the same thread named ‘hoping for your end’ claimed racism was the motivation behind the story,
a large sink hole like the one recently reported about should swallow cnn up until there’s nothing left of your stupid hack jobs on obama. what, is it because he’s black that your treat him with such contempt?
So asking a black candidate a question about jobs is now off limits?
Others hurled invective at rival candidate Clinton or at the reporter who asked the question. Said one commenter, signing their name as ‘OH GOD, GIMMIE A FREAKIN’ BREAK!!!’,
You, girlie, are NOT that important! GET A FREAKIN’ LIFE, MAN, TOY, WHATEVER it is you need to make you less BITTER for goodness sake!
Several others mentioned, I think more realistically, that “sweety” is something they would call their children or grandchildren. For some reason, the senator appeared to equate this journalist with a child–someone you would not take seriously or treat as an adult.
That, of course, is the insult, for those who haven’t figured it out yet. Journalists are adults and ask adult questions on behalf of the communities that watch their programs. Responding to Agar with the kind of language one uses for a child implies that Agar is not qualified for her job–or that the question itself is not pertinent. Agar asked a question that the community takes very seriously–but instead of being given a serious answer, was given the verbal equivalent of a lollipop and a pat on the head.
So the first issue here is the one that Agar identifies–that of closing plants and lost jobs.
The second issue here is Agar herself. Who is she? What is she about? From local blogger Emily XYZ we find out she usually works in the middle of the night, reporting about traffic conditions. Then we find out she has a two year old at home and was taking a nap when Obama called to apologize. This is the type of American we need to be supporting, not undercutting.
An even more bizarre issue is raised by a blogger without a nickname–and no, I’m not going to give a link–who says the following, and I’ll have to put a lot of asterisks in here, since I list this site as child-friendly:
What if, by w***ing to the almighty dollar, you have to try and discredit one of the only alternatives to Bush III? Well, sister, discrediting Obama is tantamount to trying to make McCain look good. Making McCain look good is like saying you enjoy f****** the average American and would like to see more war, bull**** politics, substandard status quo and selling off of our country and rights to rich foreign investors. You appear to be a selfish b**** who would destroy this country for face time. FACE TIME. That is deplorable.
The third issue then is the hardcore Obama supporters who don’t believe in asking any serious questions of the candidate for fear that he might lose the election. Perhaps they don’t believe he can answer the questions. For them the end justifies the means–their only interest is in electing a particular candidate. For them, the president does not exist to solve the problems of the country. The country—the plant workers losing their jobs and the journalist mothers working odd hours to try to raise their families–are not important. They are not the country, rather, they are destroying the country by not closing their eyes to the economic problems that beset the nation.
Personally, I think this third group is underrating Obama. We need to be asking more, not less of candidates. We need to be discovering the truth, not hiding it to protect the powerful Obamas and Clintons and McCains of this world. The factory workers need answers, the mothers struggling to raise children while working night jobs need answers. They, and not the powerful politicians, are the backbone of this nation. Politicians work for us, we don’t work for them.
Who knows, if we are willing to expect something from candidates, they just might start expecting more of themselves as well. And that might be the change we are really waiting for.