“Crying ‘gotcha’ has now become like crying wolf. The term has been cheapened by overuse”

Crying “gotcha” has now become like crying wolf. The term has been cheapened by overuse. It’s one thing for a candidate or campaign to complain that certain questions are either distracting or not relevant. But it’s another thing to conclude, just by labeling something “gotcha,” that the person raising the question is preoccupied with a matter the American people simply do not care about. How do we know the American people don’t care? Because the candidate knows and has said so.

Today’s candidates operate in an environment in which the power dynamic between the media and politicians has shifted in their favor. It has become so much easier to simply call “gotcha” on an unwelcome inquiry and be done with it. Campaigns no longer rely as heavily on the news media to communicate. They can now fashion their own websites and tweets and benefit from their own auxiliary noise machines (super PACs). In so much as the media have become more partisan, candidates can pick and choose their outlets, expect some to be friendly while dismissing others as hostile. Or they can dismiss all of them. (An April 29 headline in Politico: “Harry Reid: Journalism doesn’t exist.”)

Mark Leibovich, “Out of Bounds”, The New York Times Magazine (10 May 2015), 15.