I’ve asked “talk about” questions.
There. I’ve said it.
If you’re a sports reporter reading this, there’s a good chance you have, too. Be honest.
By now, you’ve seen the Chris Sale video:
The blowback to ‘talk about’ questions has become way more annoying than ‘talk about’ questions.— Joe Werkmeister (@joewerk) October 4, 2018
There are two truths: A. "Talk about" is not always a bad way to ask a question. It’s not optimal, and yes often it can come off as a command but sometimes it works just fine. I’ve used it on The Other 51. A guest makes an interesting point at the end of an answer, and I want to explore it further, so I will say “can you talk about that?” Yes, that is different because it is actually a question, but the larger point remains.
B. This judging of journalists by other journalists is really bothersome to me. Journalism is hard. Interviewing is hard. It’s even harder to do in the modern sports press conference, which is not at all conducive to good journalistic practices. It’s harder still when every moment of our job is televised or streamed live to an audience that has falling levels of trust in us. At a time when a swath of our population distrusts us at best, ridiculing a fellow journalist because they didn’t ask a question properly feels unseemly.
This is a venial sin sports twitter treats like a mortal one.