I wrote here about the Washington Post’s solicitation of sob stories from people who say their lives were adversely affected by President Trump’s executive order on immigration. I called it the journalistic equivalent of ambulance chasing.
The Post is at it again. Now, it is soliciting activists.
Here is the introduction to a questionnaire that follows a silly story about a random woman from Pennsylvania who attended the anti-Trump march in Washington and who, after the Post publicized her participation, received a “touching letter” from Hillary Clinton:
Have you also gotten involved since the Women’s March? Here’s a chance to share your story:
After the Women’s March: What actions are you taking next?
Did you attend the Women’s March, in either Washington or a location closer to you? We want to know what motivated you to attend — or what kept you home. And most importantly, we want to know what you plan to do after the March. Were you inspired to donate money, run for office or otherwise take action? A Post staffer may contact you regarding your thoughts. We may use your submission in related Washington Post coverage online, in print or on social media. Full terms here.
The Post then asks for the respondent’s name, email address, age, phone number, address, and location.
Next, the Post asks the following questions:
Did you attend the women’s march? Where did you march?
Was it your first time participating in political activism? Please explain why yes or no.
Tell us what you plan to do after the March. Please specify.
Tell us what you are doing or plan to do to continue your activism. Name the groups you are joining or the causes you are giving to, etc. Please be specific.
The last question seems like an effort to induce activism by holding out the possibility of getting your name in the newspaper (and maybe even a “touching letter” from Hillary). It also seems like an attempt to guilt march participants into following up by engaging in anti-Trump activities. Okay, the Post seems to be saying, so you marched — but what have you done to go beyond that gesture?
It reminds me of my college days. Back then, if you attended a meeting of (say) the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the next day a grim looking guy showed up at your dorm room to find out whether you were all talk or, instead, actually planned to do something “radical.”
Joining SDS was the key to showing that you weren’t all mouth. However, you might also be expected to get up at 5:00 in the morning and hand out commie literature to disbelieving workers at a factory gate, or to disrupt a professor, or even to take over a college administration building.
I attended the women’s march, and thus decided to answer the Post’s questionnaire as follows:
I attended the women’s march in Washington, D.C. on January 21.
This was not my first time participating in “political activism.” I have a long and checkered history of doing so.
The march inspired me to write a blog post politely ridiculing it. Going forward, I intend to write posts criticizing those who are responding hysterically to the Trump presidency, those who are unwilling to give President Trump a fair chance, and those who are unwilling fairly and honestly to cover his presidency. I have in mind, especially, the Washington Post.
I also intend to criticize President Trump on our blog when I think he merits criticism.
I plan to give money to Republican candidates in 2018, especially in Senate races so the GOP can get a filibuster proof majority. I intend to encourage readers of our blog to do the same.
I plan to resist the resistance.
If a Washington Post reporter contacts me to follow up, I will let readers know. I’m guessing the Post will leave me in peace.