*** Political Debate 101 ***

OK, you may think this guy is tool because he’s on “the other” camp.

But as far as the debating technique goes, I actually find it pretty effective and it was part of the political debater toolkit I taught in my previous life.

It’s called “Break” and it works like this: you are about to be asked a tough question, but the interviewer starts the question with a generic (like “polls say…” or “the media report…”) rather than a specific (like “the Gallup poll says…”) so you can break the interviewer rhythm by asking “Says who?” while s/he is still talking.

If s/he cannot remember a single source right away, you could even double up by asking

“Quote ONE poll, please, you said ‘polls’ implying ‘all polls’ so you should be able to name at least one”

at that point there are three possible outcomes:

1) s/he actually HAS the Gallup poll or whatever ready to which you can answer “OK, I just wanted to understand which poll you were referring to” therefore implying that other polls may be saying something else

2) s/he ignores the question or repeats the generic – as she did in this case – therefore debasing completely the negative tone of the question

3) s/he fumbles around looking for one such source, breaking the rhythm and looking biased and ill-prepared.

The reason we may not perceive this is because we start from the perspective of one who reads many papers and already knows that polls say what she says: it’s a so-called ‘shared truth” that does not require demonstration.

But not so the average elector….


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