Sunday, September 25, 2005

Punditry Party

Since starting this blog, I’ve wanted to say a few things about the penchant for punditry over facts on the cable news networks. I’ve hinted at it, even mentioned my disdain for grabbing two “experts” at opposites ends of the political spectrum and letting them argue about something in lieu of an intellectual presentation of facts.

My problem has always been writing about the subject while using real examples when it would be far better to use a little hyperbole to make the point.

Then along comes Variety critic Brian Lowry who expresses it for me:

Living in an age of instant analysis, however, the pressure exists to provide sweeping pronouncements and commentary before all the facts are known. Under this tyranny, the impulse would be to dub NBC's "My Name Is Earl" a hit off one promising telecast, even before it faces ABC's "Commander-in-Chief" and CBS' "The Amazing Race" this week.

Not everyone, of course, is comfortable leapfrogging ahead of the actual news and opining out their ear, but fortunately, an entire class of TV talking heads and pundits suffers from no such compunctions. So rather than try to say something bold and risk looking like a boob a few weeks hence, the idea arose to enlist a panel of experts -- adept in shooting off their mouths before their brains have fully congealed -- to see what their TV observations might sound like, if I could stomach actually speaking to them.

He of course then runs through a list of political punditry focused on the new TV season premieres.

The past few days, I spent time watching my favorite, and not so favorite Cable New Outlets. And of course, when there was real news to cover in hurricane Rita, all did outstanding jobs. What comes in the next few days and weeks is the punditry party that always leads me to walk away. I’m glad there’s a new season, and the repeats are over for a while.

For the record, the next few weeks the pundits will be breathlessly debating whether the end of the Bush Agenda has arrived.

It hasn’t.

We’ve had two monster hurricanes in the past month. A lot of things are up on the shelf for a while. I expect the President, and for that matter the Governors, Mayors, Congressmen and Senators to face the reality that exists on the Gulf Coast.

They need to fix it. And then pay for it, without raising taxes or mortgaging our children’s future.

Doesn’t take a pundit to understand that. And for the life of me, why would there be anything to argue about? Just do it.