Some Follow Up Questions…


As journalists, the way to disarm the lies being told by some politicians is to ask simple questions that are grounded in truth. And keep asking them until there is a satisfactory answer.

Former President Trump and his supporters in Congress have taken to calling those arrested and/or convicted of crimes related to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol “hostages.”

The definition of a “hostage” is someone who is taken or kidnapped by one party to a conflict with a plan to trade that person’s life and liberty in exchange for something of value. The Americans held at the U.S. Embassy in Iran were hostages. The Israelis and other nationals taken prisoner on October 7 of last year are hostages. Those arrested or convicted of crimes in the U.S. are not hostages. They are defendants or convicted criminals.

The simple questions that would unmask those mis-using the term hostage are:

  1. If they are hostages, who took them hostage?
  2. Who are the parties to the conflict?
  3. Who is holding them hostage?
  4. Have the hostage holders claimed responsibility?
  5. What are the hostage takers demanding in exchange for the release of the hostages?
  6. Where are they being held?
  7. Can you name another hostage in world history who was granted a trial by jury before being taken hostage?

Do not argue over the definition of the word, accept it as it is used and then ask the user to fill in all the blanks.

The means to turn off the firehose of lies is to grab onto one small piece of the big lie and keep interrogating it until the whole thing begins to fall apart.