What are good 'gotcha' journalist questions?
October 12, 2008 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Halloween costume: Thinking of going as a "gotcha" journalist. What are some "gotcha" questions I can ask at a Halloween party?

Ideally I'd like to end our conversation with me yelling 'GOTCHA!' at them.
posted by shucksitsjeremy to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you stopped beating your wife yet?
posted by GuyZero at 9:29 PM on October 12, 2008

Are you still beating your wife?

(It's a classic.)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:29 PM on October 12, 2008

posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:30 PM on October 12, 2008

What is the name of one newspaper?
posted by Airhen at 9:32 PM on October 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Are you a fan of the Bush Doctrine? [yes/no answer] Then the followup: Do you hold that opinion for any other 1970s porn films, or just that one?
posted by DB Cooper at 9:52 PM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

This story may or may not be true, but legend has it that during one of Lyndon Johnson's congressional campaigns he decided to spread a rumor that his opponent was a pig-fucker. LBJ's campaign manager said, "Lyndon, you know he doesn't do that!" Johnson replied, "I know. I just want to make him deny it." one of many sources
posted by elektrotechnicus at 10:36 PM on October 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Another (crass, insensitive) old gotcha: "Does your father know you're gay?"

Or "When was the most recent time you admit to _____ (drugs, sex, whatever fits the topic/mark best; i.e., "When was the last time you admit to hiring a prostitute?")

And anything that implies the mark is untruthful subject works. For instance, "Why do you lie about hating America?" Obviously the implication is that either the mark admits to hating America or is lying, closing the door on an easy out for the mark. Then pick apart the response, take everything literally (or figuratively, whichever makes the mark sound worse), demand yes or no answers, and very soon you've got a powerful gotcha in the pipeline.
posted by Phyltre at 10:58 PM on October 12, 2008

In the last year, did you kill more prostitutes, more hobos, or was it about the same?
posted by 0xFCAF at 11:11 PM on October 12, 2008

"What do you think about [nonexistent law/court case/scandal/song/anything]?"

If they give you an answer other than "No comment" or "I don't know," then they are filthy, filthy liars and it is your duty to inform the public!

(It can also occasionally work as a toady filter. In high school, there was this creepy guy who would not leave a friend of mine alone. One time, he went on and on about how he loved her favorite band. When she caught him out with this question, it stopped the conversation dead and he just kind of slunk away in shame.)
posted by Drop Daedalus at 11:53 PM on October 12, 2008

These are great, thanks!
posted by shucksitsjeremy at 12:07 AM on October 13, 2008

You could try reworking some of those old schoolground gotchas. "Senator, why can't a man living in California be buried in Oregon?" "Mr President! Sally's mother has three daughters, one named April, one named May... what's the third one named?" etc.

(Disadvantages: Childish. People may outsmart you. Advantages: Easier to pull off drunk. Less likely to accidentally offend people you don't really know well enough to call pig-fuckers.)
posted by No-sword at 2:50 AM on October 13, 2008

If God can do anything, can he make a stone so big he can't lift it?
posted by orange swan at 6:03 AM on October 13, 2008

Not a question, but you can sneak up to two people already engaged in conversation (preferably people you already know, unless you're not worried about coming off like a loon) and wait for someone to make an entirely innocuous comment. Yell "AHA!" and start scribbling furiously in a small notepad.
posted by kittyprecious at 6:37 AM on October 13, 2008

Also not a question, but just a prop idea -- going along with your notepad and microphone or whatever "journalistic" props you have, you could carry a big butterfly or fish net or something similar and run around the party "catching" people in their lies! Be sure to put it away before people get too drunk ;)
posted by sararah at 7:01 AM on October 13, 2008

What are the ten commandments?

Similarly: words to the pledge of allegiance/national anthem/supreme court justices, etc.

So, tell me about your beliefs as a Scientologist...
posted by misha at 10:46 AM on October 13, 2008

From middle school

Q: Do you whack it in the bathroom?

A: err....umm... NO! Gross!

Q: Well just where do you whack it then?

A: Oh no I have been outfoxed!!!!!
posted by ian1977 at 11:11 AM on October 13, 2008

"What do you look up on the internet?"
"Are you jackin' it?"
posted by Reverend John at 1:01 PM on October 13, 2008

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