Media tricks

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Media tricks are tricks employed by journalists in interviews or in the field to make their targets look silly. These tricks are usually politically motivated, and most common for the purposes of television news, where politicians or other high-profile figures caught "off-guard" makes entertaining viewing.

Media tricks can include:

  • Gotcha journalism - whereby interviewees are asked impossible or overly demanding questions
  • Memory exploitation - where an interviewee can be confronted with a past statement which contradicts whatever claim he is currently making. Inability to remember the context of the past statement can lead to hesitation, and so make the interviewee look ignorant or incompetent
  • Interruption - interrupting an interviewee with a new question to cut the interviewee off from completely the answer to the previous question. This can make someone look bad if the first part of their answer demands an explanation or elaboration
  • Biased photos - wherein a media outlet will use images that denigrate a political figure. Most common on media websites, but also in some newspapers. The photos are usually intended to make the target appeal either incompetent or sinister
  • Name calling in the crude form of argumentum ad hominem.

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