Make Them Eat Their Words
Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart regularly uses a very simple and effective rhetorical trick. They play a clip of a public figure making a statement, followed by a clip of the same person completely contradicting himself. After such an undeniable unveiling of hypocracy, Jon Stewart only has to flash his winning smirk to drive the dagger home. Easy, right? Effective, yes?
So why don't mainstream television news shows do it? I have never heard of cable or network news trying this trick. Is it another example of the mainstream press not wanting to be too rude? The press is supposed to be rude! It's supposed to reveal lies, malfeasance and hypocracy. Jon Stewart recently used this trick on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Now Rumsfeld would never appear on the Daily Show, but he would appear on NBC's Meet the Press. Imagine if Tim Russert played for Rummy clips of him saying, "I didn't say we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were" and then "We know where the WMD's are" on the air. Yes it would make awkward television, but it would also make government more accountable, which should always be a chief aim of the press.