A liberal trap is a deceptive, and often dimwitted, question designed to elicit a response that can be taken out of context in order to criticize someone, for liberal gain.
Often a liberal trap is a question that can only be answered in a damaging way by virtually anyone, but answer is demanded of a particular person in order to try to harm him rather than to elicit meaningful information.
- The liberal activist Katie Couric attempted to spring a liberal trap on Sarah Palin during the 2008 Presidential campaign by asking the candidate to produce an impromptu list of newspapers she read. The question had no apparent significance, as many highly productive people lack time for newspapers, and the internet is a more efficient source of information anyway.
- Matt Lauer posed a liberal trap to former presidential candidate John McCain, asking the former POW about an allegedly insufficient vetting of Palin, his running mate. The liberal media pounced on McCain's response (he didn't know, and he didn't care). Of course had he answered affirmatively, he would have been accused of a lack of due diligence in selecting Palin, and if he had answered negatively, he would have appeared to be contradicting the claims of his own advisers. No matter how McCain answered this unfair question, he would have been opening himself to accusations.
- President Bush was asked during his campaign for reelection to identify his mistakes. His answer was portrayed as lacking in humility, but if he had more given concrete examples, then his opponents would have seized upon them to criticize Bush more.
- The socialist Rachel Maddow laid a liberal trap for US Senate candidate from Kentucky Rand Paul. During a twenty-minute "interview", Maddow did little more than ask Paul the same question over and over, interrupting him repeatedly, attempting to portray him as a racist.