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Asking Axelrod

In preparation for a Sun-Times event with David Axelrod, the paper's political reporter, Natasha Korecki, put out a call over Twitter for questions readers would like to see asked.

I responded. In vain, predictably.

Here's the Sun-Times's own write-up of the content-free night of gladhanding. Buttons and bullshit.

Now, here are the questions I suggested:

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To those, I would add:

You've said going around the media to get your message out through unquestioning small-town reporters, talk show hosts, and social channels is "smart." Are you saying that propaganda is more important than journalism?

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The president gives more interviews to comedians than to serious reporters. Does that serve democracy best?

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How is it that Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration ever, yet journalists feel under siege like never before?

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Do you believe that journalists who publish material gained from whistleblowers should be imprisoned?

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Do you believe James Risen should be imprisoned?

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If you were contacted by Edward Snowden when you were a reporter, what would you have done?

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How did you square representing Richard M. Daley, whose City Hall was drenched in corruption, with representing Barack Obama, who vowed to change the very kind of politics Daley practiced?

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How was it that you fashioned a reformer image for Barack Obama even as he endorsed the Machine candidate over the reform candidate every single time?

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How can you be proud both of the job Daley did as mayor and the job Rahm Emanuel is doing as mayor when Rahm Emanuel keeps saying the old way was wrong?

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But I suppose you can't ask questions like that (journalism questions) when you are in a business partnership with the news subject (in an "exclusive" interview despite the man's media ubiquity) - and you hope to be again, with him and others like him.

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Note: Yes, the event was billed as a discussion about "youth in politics," but the questioning ranged, according to the Sun-Times's own account, from how Rahm Emanuel will face down challengers in the next election to how Dan Rutherford handled sexual harassment allegations against him to how Pat Quinn will fight off Bruce Rauner.

It would have been far more interesting to bill the night as an intimate conversation with David Axelrod in which the Sun-Times asks all the questions he's never been asked before, instead of a bullshit "youth in politics" frame. You could have certainly charged more.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on March 12, 2014


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