To close the most recent Democratic candidates’ debate, a female student in the audience asked Hilary Clinton which she prefers, diamonds or pearls (Clinton laughed and said “both”). Watching the debate, I wondered what sort of person would ask a question that asinine.1
As it turns out, the answer is: an ordinary, serious person, who had wanted to ask a real question but was told not to by CNN’s decision-makers.
A former illegal immigrant whose parents clean and do laundry for Las Vegas hotels, she attends a UNLV honors program on scholarship and work-study programs. Two summers ago, she interned for Senator Harry Reid; last summer, she won a fellowship in public policy at Princeton. She wants to be an immigration lawyer when she’s older.[...]
Last week, CNN had contacted Ms. Parra-Sandoval, a political science student at University of Las Vegas-Nevada, through a professor, and asked her to submit a question. She wrote one about health care for children. CNN rejected it, calling it too similar to another question that would be asked. (No such question was.) So she sent another, about Iraq. That was rejected too. On Wednesday, a CNN producer asked her for two final questions, one substantive and one light. Ms. Parra-Sandoval sent one about Yucca Mountain, the Nevada site under consideration as a storage facility for radioactive waste. With the deadline approaching, she stared at her computer screen. Noticing the pearl-pattern background on her MySpace page, she dashed off the jewelry one.
CNN asked her to come to the debate with both questions memorized. Two hours in, a producer whispered that she should ask the second one.
CNN, of course, has defended the question by pointing out that Parra-Sandoval wrote it herself, as if CNN had nothing to do with it. Oy.
- I think the “boxers or briefs” question is asinine, too. [↩]