How a question is asked might be as important as how it's answered. Watch this mashup of Candy Crowley's questions to Nancy Pelosi in her interview Sunday to see why journalists feed right wing frames.
September 23, 2013

Welcome to Candy Crowley's version of "when did you stop beating your wife?" Heather over at VideoCafe put this mashup together of the questions Crowley asked Nancy Pelosi Sunday morning, because how you frame a question matters at least as much as the answer does.

I'm not sure if Candy Crowley thought she needed to "balance" the conversation by standing in for the right wing representatives who are sending the government on a fast track to a shutdown, or if she's just so deeply embedded in the bubble that she can't see the forest for the trees. Here is a sampling of the questions she asked, from the transcript.

It begins with her introduction, where she informs her audience that she "sat down with Nancy Pelosi just after the House vote and asked her where she's willing to compromise."

Um, Candy? I really hate to bring reality to the conversation but the budget process really has been hijacked by rabid ideologues who want nothing more than total destruction. Since when do we negotiate with terrorists?

Her questions were all rich with right wing tropes. Like these:

On "small government": Where are you willing to limit government? (Unsaid: Because of course big government is a terrible thing...)

On spending cuts and the debt ceiling: So, that is where they believe that they can begin to do some of the spending cuts they want to do, that they can negotiate there. What is your position on spending ceiling, further cuts, who does that negotiating?

As usual, Crowley ignores the fact that no president ever has had to face the prospect of default and debt ceiling hostage-taking until Barack Obama took office. This is not a new thing for Crowley. In June, 2011 she asked Pelosi whether she would "vote for a debt ceiling that has attached to it a package that contains only spending cuts?"

Her question presumes there had ever been any package ever attached to a debt ceiling increase before that time, which there had not. By the way, that question was part of her "post-game analysis." Because it really is just a game to her.

Crowley is so entrenched she doesn't see what she's doing, even. She followed up the first question about negotiation with this one:

But again, I just have to point out that President Clinton, President Bush, President Reagan, and this president have all negotiated the debt ceiling and given up something for that.

No, Candy. President Clinton did not negotiate on the debt ceiling. Nor did Bush. Nor did Reagan.

There were budget negotiations. There always are. But there were never debt ceiling negotiations. I can show you what they passed. One page resolutions raising from the previous level to the current level. This is because sane, rational people understand that the debt ceiling is related to what has already been appropriated. Yet Crowley never, ever mentions that.

On yet another question about what would be open for negotiation, Crowley makes this statement as a non-question. "Not entitlements. You don't want to touch entitlements."

Ah, the "entitlement" frame again. Now I don't have a huge problem with this on its face, because I definitely feel entitled to something that I've paid into. However, the broader frame is intended to place Social Security and Medicare into a welfare frame in order to suggest that they are somehow giveaways engineered by socialists. Or something. Any way you cut it, it's the Pete Peterson frame on the social safety net.

As if that weren't bad enough, the next series of questions is related to the insane push to defund or delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Once again, Crowley next feels compelled to ask the question about the debt ceiling in that context, asking this:

No chance you would agree to put it off as some are thinking of with the debt ceiling some Republicans are thinking why don't we attach a year long delay for people to sign up?

She fails to mention the fact that a year long delay would keep more people (like me!) out of any health insurance that was remotely affordable, that people with pre-existing conditions would still be shut out and this time shut out with no high-risk pools to fall back on, because the money has run out for those. When she doesn't get the answer she expects, she tries again:

So you wouldn't agree to anything that involved a year long delay for people signing up for insurance in the marketplace?

Viewers of this travesty who are as misinformed as most of the American public is about the Affordable Care Act will be no more informed, because Candy Crowley cannot be bothered to think far enough outside of the bubble and actually ask some decent questions.

She could have asked about pre-existing conditions, and what it would mean to people who suffer from them to have access to coverage they can actually afford. She could have asked about how a threat to hold the debt ceiling hostage in exchange for budget cuts was even Constitutional, much less ethical.

I have one question for Candy. Let's see if she likes it as much as she seems to like asking questions like this. Here it is, Candy.

Which right-wing spin doctors write your interview questions, Candy?

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