July 10th, 2012
09:32 PM ET

Letters to the President #1268: 'The talking point war'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is taking the gloves off to go after Mitt Romney. I’m taking my gloves off to type today’s letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I hate talking points. I mean, I really hate them. The idea that political operatives from both major parties sit around coming up with ideas for selling a candidate, and then focus group them, then print them up, then send minions storming out into the blogs, the radio shows, and the TV programs is just sort of revolting.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no complaint with any party or candidate getting his or her message out. I just feel as if the single-minded marketing of candidates is one of the key reasons we can’t get any real answers to so many questions anymore. Bad jobs report? Let’s go to talking point A. Good jobs report? Talking point B.

Political operatives have grown so good at cranking this stuff out and distributing it to the masses via spokespeople of all sorts, that it sometimes seems almost impossible for a reporter to get an honest, reasoned reaction or statement about anything. Instead we are so often confronted with a pre-canned, sanitized version of “truth” which really has nothing to do with truth at all. I guess it is partially our own fault. When we allow political types to do such things and use it to fill up our columns and shows, we just encourage it. Still, I wish it could be different. And on the days when the talking points wars are raging, I really long for straight questions, straight answers…and some genuine straight talk amid all the spin.

Hope all is well. Call if you can.


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