Gotcha journalism

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Gotcha journalism is a mainstream media tactic of asking questions less to find out about an interviewees life or ideas than to get an easily misinterpreted and used as damaging reply.

An example of such a question is Name all Ten Commandments. Few people, regardless of political leaning, can do this, and the question is aimed to make the target look silly. This particular question is usually asked of those who wish to see the ten commandments displayed outside courthouses.

Another example was the interviewer who spent an entire bus ride asking George Bush geography questions, until he finally found a major country whose current dictator Bush couldn't name. Then, disregarding the bulk of the interview he trumpeted Bush's "ignorance" based on the one question out of hundreds he couldn't answer.

Gotcha journalism is an example of a media trick.

See also