The popular link aggregation site Reddit, which enjoys a faithful following that generally leans left, proved recently that its users – known as redditors – will not support someone simply because he or she is affiliated with the Obama administration.
One popular feature on the site is the AMA, or Ask Me Anything, which allows users to ask famous or notable individuals a question and receive a direct response – at least, that is the intent. When Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy initiated an AMA recently, it soon became clear she was not ready for the openness and honesty redditors demand. And on Reddit, that’s never a good plan.
In her introduction, she touted the EPA’s recent plan to further regulate power plant emissions. As direct questions began pouring in, however, she apparently found it difficult to respond.
Some of her answers were ‘down voted’ so vigorously that they were hidden from view. Others, perceived as cursory responses that failed to actually answer the question asked, were mercilessly mocked.
Her response to a query regarding why climate change is seen as a partisan issue seemed to many as an effort to merely gloss over the actual issue. One user summed up the reaction of several redditors:
“Wow Gina, that was a good answer! We’re all very proud of you! You put words together in the form of sentences. That’s the first 10% of what it takes to answer a question! You’re making good progress. Next time, try to focus on what the CONTENT of the question was. This will help you get closer to your goal of ANSWERING the question. Anything short of that is just a REPLY to a question. But replies are close to answers, so you’re making progress. It’s just that those words you listed together as a reply, well, since they didn’t address the content of the question, they were about as informative as if you had just farted instead.”
An overarching criticism was that she picked which questions she wanted to answer while ignoring the tough ones. As one user put it:
“Hey Gina! Thanks for answering all the softball questions and none of the real ones! You’re a fraud!”
Some responses were even more critical, including one that asserted McCarthy was not even the person answering the questions.
“16 g—d— responses. 16. In a f—king AMA? I upvoted as many as I can calling this s—t out as what it was: fraud, PR, disingenuous, bulls—it!
“16 responses? Not to mention it was not “ask you – HA HA, I mean your staffer – anything” because you ignored every f—king question that wasn’t towing your line.
“You are a shady politician and a worthless steward of the environment. F—k your incompetent staffer for even suggesting this ‘AskMeWHATIWANTTOHEAR’”
One response that actually did get some positive feedback, however, was her answer to the groundbreaking question, “How did you like the Simpson’s [sic] Movie?”
For those curious, she is partial to Marge.
“Love the hair,” she wrote.
As an update after the AMA concluded, McCarthy wrote that there were “so many great questions” asked. In an apparent attempt to explain her lack of responses to those questions, she concluded that, “Next time I’ll have to type faster!”
Update: The EPA released a blog post detailing the AMA, but of course, nothing negative is ever mentioned. If you ever want to read a great example of PR propaganda whitewashing, read this: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2014/06/reddit-ask-me-anything-with-epa-administrator-gina-mccarthy/
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom