Gotcha journalism does not exist. Asking candidates if they know relevant facts or have specific opinions is not journalistic bullying, it’s just journalism.
Donald Trump is the latest Gotcha crybaby, and he’s upset because a reporter asked if he knew anything about the organizational leaders of the terrorist groups he claims he will be great at fighting. It was not a Gotcha moment, it was a Trump-is-unprepared-for-the-presidency moment, and Trump’s over-sensitive whining that an interviewer was mean is like giving himself a participatory interviewing trophy after an objectively poor performance.
For some reason, Republican presidential candidates feel that the media’s role is to protect their political reputations like helicopter parents and to shield their unexamined political philosophies from any type of journalistic resistance. This is not how objective journalism works, but in their defense they did study journalism at Fox News.
Fox News, of course, is the scholarly sage of the Anti-Gotcha movement, and Fox developed the insular theory of us-Vs-them media as a reactionary protest to the supposedly liberal media’s corrupt insistence on informed politics.
It began in the controversy regarding Katie Couric’s now-infamous interview with then vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and Couric’s following Gotcha-style questions:
“Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials. […] Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?”
“And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?”
Yes, the liberal media’s octopus tentacles of biased agenda are wrapped all around these questions of “can you explain why you are qualified to be vice-president?” and “do you read?”
The reality is that the liberal media with its Gotcha journalism is an invented, abstract enemy for Fox News to scapegoat when its favorite political leaders are called on what is educational ignorance and presidential unpreparedness at worst, and news-making lack of communicable introspection at best.