"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions."
by Julia Conley
Weeks after leaving a Dutch reporter stunned by denying that he'd made televised remarks about terrorism, several of the Netherlands' political journalists refused to allow a Trump appointee to ignore their questions about the incident, demonstrating effective political journalism while many American news outlets are criticized for allowing elected officials to get away with blatant and repeated lies.
Reporters at a press conference repeatedly asked Pete Hoekstra, the new U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, to comment on his remarks at a hearing in 2015. Hoekstra urged the press to move on from the issue, but to no avail.
In Hoekstra's comments in 2015, he said areas of the country had been marked "no-go zones" because of terrorism and that "there are politicians that are being burnt."
When Hoekstra ignored a reporter's question about the latter statement, one journalist said, "This is not how it works."
"This is the Netherlands, you have to answer questions," said another.
"Meneer de ambassadeur, kunt u een Nederlandse politicus noemen die de afgelopen jaren is verbrand?" Geen antwoord. Nieuwe Amerikaanse ambassadeur Pete Hoekstra had een lastige eerste ontmoeting met de Nederlandse pers. → https://t.co/8IDcPrVBPE pic.twitter.com/N0TiGaaBzj
— NOS (@NOS) January 10, 2018
On social media, political observers remarked on the video's clear depiction of not only the Trump administration's lack of transparency and honesty—but of the failure of much of the American corporate press to hold elected officials and their spokespeople accountable for their lies and incorrect statements.
— Jon Schwarz (@schwarz) January 11, 2018
American reporters just gave up gently trying to get Trump to explain his lie about watching thousands of Muslims cheer as the towers fell on 9/11; Dutch reporters are not letting the new ambassador Trump sent them off so easily https://t.co/aamn1a3f24
— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) January 11, 2018
Can we replace the white house press corps with these Dutch reporters? https://t.co/UHgTSryIei
— Gordon Ramsme (@GordonRamsme7) January 11, 2018
In contrast to the Dutch reporters at the briefing, the White House Press Corps has been criticized for agreeing to off-camera briefings for several weeks last summer and failing to call out White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and follow up when she refuses to answer questions or responds with lies about the administration. Many political journalists have also denounced the New York Times for publishing interviews with President Donald Trump that include few or no follow-up questions.
Originally published in Common Dreams | Photo: @anneowenphd/Twitter