Writing Prompts: Leading Questions

Why is Lionel Messi better than Cristiano Ronaldo?

Do you see what I did there? That question can certainly be considered a ‘leading question’, for it assumes the presume to be true.

Leading questions get used all the time. I dare say they serve a purpose in a sales environment. ‘Why wouldn’t you want the peace of mind most other people go for with the insurance?’ It’s manipulative, and I don’t like it, but I do understand why such questions get used in sales.

Sometimes they are used to assert what the questioner considers to be the truth. I’ve seen leading questions from the religious right all the time. I see it in the political arena, especially in regards to the USA’s former whinger-in-chief, Donald Trump. There are regular assertions that the current president, Joe Biden, should be in jail, with questions asking why he isn’t. Oddly enough, Trump supporters rarely apply these questions evenly, even when (or perhaps especially when) the situation calls for it.

Take for example, how Trump supporters claim a witch-hunt in respect of his handling of classified material, and how they assert bias. ‘Why is Biden not being treated as a crook?’ ‘Why is Trump being falsely persecuted?’

These are leading questions. Trump’s fanbase is very good at swallowing this sort of rhetoric from their man, and will go to great lengths to defend him, even when the evidence is overwhelming.

Regarding the handling of classified documents, there are huge differences to how Biden and Trump have conducted themselves. Biden has cooperated with authorities on the matter; Trump has not. Trump has been obstructionist; Biden has not. There is at least one recording of Trump acknowledging he has classified material in his possession when he shouldn’t. Will this stop Trump supporters from asking leading questions about Biden? Perhaps they’ll latch onto Hunter Biden once more, rather than acknowledge the numerous failings of their hero.

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