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Difference between news analyst, commentator and pundit? None

Danse Macabre: The Pundits.

Image by quirkybird via Flickr

I decided just yesterday for no reason in particular, to throw my hat into the pundit ring. I’ve heard through other reliable pundits (pretty funny huh, using reliable and pundit in same sentence) that all you need is an opinion and a forum. I figure I have both.  My forum might be small by Fox or CNN standards but never-the-less a blog is a blog and you just never know who drops by.

I was in the newspaper business for many years, and the only words we ever used to describe who we were and what we did were typically reporter, correspondent, columnist and of course editor.  The editorial was the newspaper version of opinion along with columns, which were the express opinion of the writer who wrote them. As reporters or correspondents (which were our part-time reporters) we wrote news backed up with plenty of facts and sources or it didn’t fly. Pretty cut and dried.  But,  people even then,  expressed confusion about what exactly an editorial  was,  no matter that I once wrote an editorial explaining to readers exactly what an editorial was.  So evidently, opinion and fact and how they are packaged  has always been confusing for some. Myself included.

Today of course, we have been enlightened with so much opinion in our news, especially TV news, that the lines seem especially  blurred between pundit, commentator and news analyst. I have been researching these three terms for quite a while and have come to the conclusion that pundits, commentators and news analysts are completely interchangeable.  For a while, I thought a news analyst was not supposed to have a personal opinion. That he/she was supposed to gather the facts, have some extra deep knowledge to add to those facts that us dummies don’t know and present same to us in an unbiased manner.

But, my new pundit opinion thinking cap got in the way. If you are analyzing a situation how do you do that without bringing your own bias into the mix? How is an analyst going to analyze without coming to some conclusion? And you can’t come to a conclusion and be unbiased. If you just throw out the facts and don’t analyze then you aren’t an analyst anymore just a reporter or a correspondent or someone who just reads the news on TV with no comments whats-so-ever (an unheard of phenomenon). Even interpreting the news, which is something news analysts do often, is still interpreting the news by the standards of the analysts themselves or who ever they work for. So they still have a point of view.  A point of view cannot be void of opinion.

This is certainly not think-tank stuff but since a commentator is an opinion person, and a pundit is most definitely an opinion person (think Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck) and since I have personally dropped the status of news analyst to mere opinion person I think a new word to describe all three interchangeable words is in order.  Maybe something like anal-puntator or…I’m sure you come can up with plenty of your own.

(If you are a news junkie like I am you might want to pick up a copy of this; http://amzn.to/1rIhuzD “The News: A Users Manual.” It definitely shows how the 24hr. news cycle affects our lives. Now, the author does analyze in this book but maybe I like it because I agree with most of it.)  I bought it in hardcover rather than digital just because I find it easier to skim.  I am an Amazon affiliate so I do get a small commission If you purchase through my link.

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ABC’s “The View” where Whoopi and Joy better agree with your view

The morning ABC gabfest known as “The View“, where differing views are supposed to be welcome, according to Barbara Walters on an early promo for the show, probably could use a new promo.  It should read something like; “If Whoopi Goldberg or Joy Behar don’t like your view, then they will take their toys…er I mean views and walk off the stage and embarrass themselves and the show, because they are not bright enough or quick witted enough to stand their ground against opposing forces.”  Or bullies like Bill O’Reilly.

The guy is a big bag of wind and they let him command the show this week like it was his own. I mean, four women against one guy (I don’t count Elisabeth Hasselbeck) and he still came out a winner even if you totally disagreed with what he said. Just in case you haven’t seen or heard what happened this week on The View, even though it has been on every news, radio and comedy program in the last 24 hours, probably worldwide, in a nutshell: O’Reilly came on the show and mentioned that 70% of people don’t want the a mosque in the area of the 9/11 tragedy. He said Muslims attacked us and most people don’t want a mosque there as a memory. Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg went nuts and said he should have said “terrorist Muslims” and not just said Muslims because it was not right to defame all Muslims. He said he wasn’t defaming all Muslims and that everyone knows that it was terrorist Muslims that attacked us. In other words it was semantics.

I watched the show as it happened and Barbara Walters looked, flustered and upset. She apologized to viewers and stated that her colleagues should not have walked out. Evidently O’Reilly apologized (according to Behar) and they came back on the set but Behar would not sit next to him as she had been previously and moved her seat. They supposedly left because they said they were upset by his words. 

But, the part I don’t get besides the totally unprofessional antics of walking off their own show is; Why would these two liberals (Goldberg and Behar) not stick around and push their liberal agenda in his face?  Aren’t liberals supposed to be tolerant?  Aren’t liberals supposed to stand up and fight for what is right?  Instead they walked out making themselves look so foolish, I could hardly believe my eyes. They didn’t even try to kick him on their way out or say anything meaningful or smart or even clever (and these two are comedians). They let O’Reilly get the upper hand on their own show. Walters knew it immediately and had to be ready to kill these two.

In the heat of the arguing before Goldberg and Behar left, O’Reilly was very condescending to Behar and at one point even told her to “listen and you might learn ” instead of coming back with a caustic comment  or quip that she is known for, she childishly stuck her  fingers behind his head in a ridiculous display not suitable for ANY talk show host on National TV. This was teenage stuff. I was embarrased for her.

I’ve never been a Bill  O’Reilly fan and I do occasionally watch the view. I’m still not an O’Reilly fan and my View watching days are over. If I wanted to watch screaming and yelling I could turn on Springer, at least they are real white trash. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar are phony liberals and classless acts at that.

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