Take “The Watchdog” Out Back

My new favorite output from The Morning Watch is “The Watchdog,” a bizarre new series focused on going to minority-themed events and asking stupid questions. Host Sergei Kelley has released two episodes, each of which fits squarely in The Morning Watch’s confusing canon.

The first episode sees Kelley traveling to a February 2 “Black Empowerment Festival” held by the Black Student Alliance and the African-American Student Mentorship Program. As the episode’s description puts it, “The new series ‘The Watchdog,’ asked multiple attendees of the event multiple questions,” proving that Kelley and Co. understand the basic idea of interviews but fail to grasp how a goddamn comma works. Those multiple questions elicited “mixed opinions,” according to Kelley; “one interviewee thought that the current presidential administration was a benefit to black empowerment,” he writes.

Here’s what that attendee actually said:

“Yes. Because I think—because this is such a polarizing time, and at this moment you can really see how people think. And people are being very bold and truly expressing how they feel. And as soon as we can get everyone being honest about how they feel, whether their views are ‘problematic,’ or whether they’re radical, we can, like, finally address the problems that are there for what they are.”

At least we know who the racists are, in essence. That’s a nuanced take. But it’s a far cry from simply portraying the attendee as thinking Trump is a boon to black empowerment, and it’s not fair to say that the opinions at the event were therefore mixed. If that opinion was the closest one to a “yes” that Kelley could get, that should tell him a good deal about the relationship between the African-American community and the President’s base.

The Watchdog followed up this ham-fisted attempt at hard-hitting journalism with a second episode, this time turning Kelley’s watchful eye toward the North American Indigenous Student Organization’s February 23 Native American Pow-wow. Worry not, Kelley is quick to assure us that “attendees of the event were asked multiple questions.” So that’s good.

This awkward minute-and-a-half features Kelley asking three white people and one Native American what “some of the problems are facing the indigenous community today.” The first three say they aren’t sure, and the indigenous man gives a thought-provoking answer about the isolation of indigenous communities in the North. Is it possible that the one of the problems facing the indigenous community is widespread ignorance by white people? Uh, yeah, probably. You know what doesn’t remotely solve that? Asking three white people that question at a Native American Pow-wow! Way to squander an actual opportunity for education.

Speaking of a need for education, Kelley asks a young man to define “Native American,” to which the interviewee apparently responds, “I don’t know what that is.” Bullshit. I refuse to believe that this kid has just never heard of Native Americans. But assuming for a second that the clip isn’t selectively and deceptively edited, The Watchdog/The Morning Watch has a journalistic responsibility to release the full clip of Kelley’s interview with that person. If you’re going to make him look like a dumbass—which you did—then you better do it fairly.

Having stomached exactly as much of this series as I could take, I was relieved to find there were no more episodes to watch. But I fear there will be more. So I am calling on MSU’s conservative voice to better itself. The Morning Watch should either improve the quality of The Watchdog (and replace its shitty PowerPoint logo) or else give this fucker the “Old Yeller” treatment.

– N. Credulous (Guest Contributor)

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