Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The new governor of New Jersey offers a blunt, but not rude or defensive, response to a reporter’s question about his “tone.” He is right that the political press’s furrow-browed concern with “tone” and working bipartisanly and their unctuous worries about the dangers of  “confrontation” and alienating the other side is an ideological tool and political tactic that they never raise when the other side does it. Governor Christie is confrontational and alienating, Congressman Pelosi is politically astute and courageous.

But that aside, watching Christie answer the reporter firmly and call him out on his ideological statement masquerading as objective concern does make one wish more religious leaders would speak like this. Not just speak firmly and well (humorously, for one thing) in defense of their positions, without conceding anything to the questioner’s implicit charge, but being willing to call out reporters on the ideological tricks they’re playing.

For one thing, even their allies and supporters don’t realize they’re being conned, and for another, neither do their critics. The speaker who’s willing to expose the bias hidden in apparently neutral questions will at least help make the discussion a little fairer and a little more objective. And he might teach the reporters he deals with not to try to pull that kind of thing again.

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles