Chris Wallace – A Gotcha Journalist?

I originally thought I would title this something like “Tough Questions for Chris Wallace.” Obviously, being a big time television celebrity, reading our blog is not likely even on his radar much less being any sort of a priority.

Chris Wallace is a member of the FOX News network, host of FOX News Sunday and until recently I had a great deal of respect for what seemed like journalistic integrity. Recently however, he seems to have succumbed to crafting what Newt Gingrich painted as gotcha questions. They are emotionally charged and designed to spark controversy but often are false questions which serve to put the one questioned on the defensive with no real way to give a response that makes them look anything by guilty. In this past Sunday’s interview Fox’s Chris Wallace Hits Santorum from Left on Gays in Military:

Senator, you say sexual activity has no place in the military. Heterosexuals have been openly heterosexual for centuries in the military without any problems, and you talk about gays not being given or that they shouldn’t be given special privilege. All that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or the repeal of it does is say that they are given the same rights as everybody else has had forever.

Some may read the question and see the problem right away while others may not notice the subtle bait and switch that occurred. “Sexual activity” is categorically different than being heterosexual. “Heterosexual” describes in one word that sexual relations, when participated in, are between a male and female. It says nothing about whether or not the males and/or females in question are in fact, engaging in “sexual activity.”

Wallace then went on to read a quote:

You say, Senator, if I may follow up because we really are running out of time, and it’s continuing this conversation, you say don’t inject social policy into the military, their job is to fight and defend, and not a social experiment. I want to put up a quote for you:

The Army is not a sociologial laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in a time of war, would pose a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.

To further confuse the issue, the quote Wallace used had to do with racial segregation as though the color of one’s skin is equal to how one carries out their “sexual activity.”

Although Wallace is correct that, “Heterosexuals have been openly heterosexual for centuries in the military without any problems,” his point is meaningless and irrelevant. For “the centuries” covered, the “heterosexuals” who were serving were all of the same gender and sexual activity was not permitted or tolerated among the ranks of men who were serving. Although women have served in various capacities down through the history of the United States (When did women begin serving in the US Armed Forces?), there has always been a strict policy of segregation! There are reasons for the segregation.

Heterosexual men and women were segregated (separate sleeping quarters, showers and bathrooms) in order to limit unnecessary temptations and enticements to engage in “sexual activity.” Sexual activity among the heterosexuals who were serving was discouraged unless it was with their spouse. This all seems simple and understandable to me, I am uncertain whey Christ Wallace is having such a difficult time getting a handle on it.

Santorum did okay but probably would have been netter served to pose a question back properly framing the controversy. Something like, “You raise a good point Chris. The military has segregated men and women in order to prevent sexual activity and create a certain level of comfort that individuals who are serving in our armed forces are not being sexually lusted after by someone of the opposite sex. If you are consistent you would be beating the drum to eliminate all segregation and make all military facilities, bathrooms, showers, barracks, etc. gender neutral. After all, homosexuals are by definition sexually excited by those of their same gender in the same way that heterosexuals are sexually excited by those of the opposite gender.”

That would put the question squarely back into the correct category and Santorum would be able to answer the question without equivocation, “sexual activity has no place in the military. I don’t believe we should require that men and women shower and sleep together and I don’t believe men or women should be required to shower and sleep with someone of their own gender that is sexually excited by those of their same gender.”

Has Wallace exchanged being intellectually honest for being politically correct? I am not sure. He just may not have thought this through and was also distracted by the liberal media with the category switch and just didn’t catch on. I hope that is the case.


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