“Do You Regret All the Lying,” Desi Journalist Asks Trump. What Would Happen to Him in India?

Social Commentary

“Do You Regret All the Lying,” Desi Journalist Asks Trump. What Would Happen to Him in India?

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

United States President Donald Trump, in an election year, should be prepared for loaded questions that put him in a difficult position. But at a press conference at the White House on Thursday, Trump appeared totally stumped by a pointed question from an Indian-American reporter named Shirish Date, and completely ducked the question. Date boldly asked Trump whether the President regretted “all the lying, all the dishonesty” he had engaged in during the three-and-a-half years of his tenure. A journalist asking such a blunt question directly to the head of state is impressive by any standard for press freedom, but even more so in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi has until date not held a single press conference over his two terms, and the country’s position in the World Press Freedom Index continues to slide even as attacks on journalists continue to rise.

Date is a veteran journalist, having worked in the field for over 25 years after graduating from Stanford University. He is currently the White House correspondent at Huffington Post.

The bombshell Date dropped on Trump in the press conference quickly went viral. People congratulated Date for calling out Trump’s hypocrisy to his face. Interspersed among the congratulatory posts were also some that were critical of Date, observing that posing such loaded questions was unbecoming of a senior journalist. However, Date himself seemed satisfied with the reaction, claiming he has been waiting for a long time to ask the question to the president’s face.

It’s refreshing to witness reporters speaking truth to power, especially in a week where a brutal mob attack on three journalists in India’s national capital Delhi went largely unreported by mainstream media. It’s proof that as long as there are people ready and willing to ask pertinent questions to those in power, authoritarianism will not be able to assert itself comfortably.