Katie Hobbs was on CNN this Sunday performing a truth-bending contortion that Kari Lake isn’t willing to do one-on-one interviews.
That’s quite a stretch and required no small bit of chutzpah coming from someone who ducked the gubernatorial debate and then became the reason Kari Lake’s most recent one-on-one was canceled.
Fortunately, CNN interviewer Dana Bash caught her on it, saying Kari Lake has, in fact, been willing to do an extensive interview with CNN.
Not just CNN. Lake has done interviews with CBS Face the Nation and KGUN, Tucson’s ABC affiliate.
She has done one-on-one interviews with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
More importantly, Kari Lake was willing to debate her opponent.
Katie Hobbs was not.
Hobbs ducked debate, was rewarded for it
Lake was scheduled to do an interview with Arizona PBS before her campaign learned that Arizona State University, working behind the scenes with the Hobbs campaign, ran an end-a-round on its debate partner Arizona Clean Elections.
Arizona PBS essentially rewarded Hobbs for ducking the debate by giving her a 30-minute interview to balance out Lake’s.
That compelled Arizona Clean Elections to cut ties with Arizona PBS and Arizona State University Cronkite School and to cancel the interview with Kari Lake until it could find a new broadcast partner.
2022 slates:Why ‘Lake and Blake’ is a thing, but ‘Katie and Kelly’ is not
Cronkite responded that it was merely practicing journalism.
“It is our responsibility as a news agency to provide the public with access to the candidates who are running for office so they can learn more and make informed decisions,” a Cronkite spokesperson said.
Merely journalism? Balance and objectivity? Equal time and all that?
Ask yourself this question: Had the tables been turned and Kari Lake ducked the debate, would ASU have rewarded Lake an equal-time interview?
Bending the truth undermines her message
For Katie Hobbs to bend the truth on CNN cuts against her own party’s message that Democrats are not merely contestants this year but the very defenders of truth and democracy.
She was distorting the truth and she knows it.
Here’s how it went down on CNN’s State of the Union:
HOBBS: “Kari Lake has made it clear, time and time again, that she’s not interested in having substantive in-depth conversations about the issues that matter to Arizonans. She only wants a scenario where she can control the dialogue. And she’s refused to sit down on a one-on-one lengthy conversation to really clarify with Arizonans where she is on the issues. She’s the one who’s afraid of talking to voters where she’s at.”
BASH: “She just came in and sat down with me and answered my questions for a lot of minutes. A lot of Democrats are questioning your decision, and they’re saying it’s the wrong decision. President Biden’s former 2020 co-chair said, ‘I would debate and I would want the people of Arizona to know what my platform is.’ If you think she is as dangerous to democracy as you say she is, isn’t it your responsibility as a candidate who wants to run Arizona to explain and to show who their alternative is?”
HOBBS: “That is exactly what I’m doing right now. And there is a lot more ability to have a conversation with you without her interruptions and shouting to do that. And yes, she did sit down with you. She’s refused to do that with any legitimate reporter in the state of Arizona and take her case directly to the voters. She’s only interested in creating a spectacle, and I guarantee you that people that are struggling in Arizona right now are not making their decisions over whether or not there was a debate between myself and Kari Lake.”
Notice the added qualifier in that last paragraph – “any legitimate reporter in Arizona.”
That’s some qualifier. But no less disingenuous.
Kari Lake’s election denial is a serious defect
Dana Bash was giving a master’s class in professional journalism on Sunday asking tough questions of both Hobbs and Lake.
She pressed Kari Lake on her refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, and then asked of the 2022 Arizona governor’s election, “If you lose, will you accept that?”
Lake replied, “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result.”
Pressed again, Lake repeated herself.
Another view:The ‘good’ reason Kari Lake keeps spreading election lies
So, we must assume the answer is no. If she loses, she is not ready to accept the election results.
As candidates go, that’s a serious defect.
But Lake was also quick to point out the national media’s odorous double standard on this issue. Stacey Abrams, Democratic candidate for governor this year, denied for years that she lost the 2018 Georgia governor’s race.
Here’s what she said in 2019: “We had this little election back in 2018. And despite the final tally and the inauguration and the situation we find ourselves in, I do have one very affirmative statement to make. We won.”
Abrams has been the darling of national media. Not the “election denier” they call Lake, as the latter noted.
Democrats have done the same. It hurts either way
Furthermore, to get a good whiff of the Democratic Party’s double standard on election denialism look at the video T.K. Media produced that shows irrefutable and extensive evidence of the left denying the results of the 2016 election. These are mostly on-camera moments from Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Karine Jean-Pierre, Adam Schiff, Rob Reiner, Tom Arnold, Chris Hayes and more.
The Democrats’ election fantasy was that the Russians hacked the U.S. national election and made Donald Trump president. That would be the same Russians who can’t beat the much smaller, ragtag Ukrainian army in their own backyard.
Matt Taibbi, formerly of Rolling Stone and once solidly a man of the left, now runs T.K. Media, which is responsible for the video of Democrats who denied the 2016 election. When T.K. put the footage up on YouTube, the tech giant took it down.
YouTube has long been pressured by Democrats to censor what the Democrats deem disinformation. But this wasn’t disinformation. This was the Democrats on tape doing election denial. It was hypocrisy in high definition.
Election denialism is corrosive to our system of government. It’s wrong.
It’s wrong when Donald Trump and Kari Lake do it. It’s wrong when Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden do it.
Finally, as we peer into the blast crater that was the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial debate, it’s worth noting that four years from now, any candidate who ducks the debate will do so at their own peril.
We are unlikely to forget how the 2022 debate that never happened defined this election and the candidate who ran from it.
Phil Boas is an editorial columnist with The Arizona Republic. Email him at 602-444-8292 or [email protected].