We all found out today that our justice system is alive and well and not living in a woman called Nancy Grace. While Casey Anthony was found not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and child abuse she was found guilty of the lesser charges of lying to police, and basically sending them on a bunch of wild goose chases. Grace anointed herself judge, jury and “expert” early on in the Casey Anthony case and talked about it non-stop on her HLN nightly program for CNN. The program, called Swift Justice, was taken literally by Grace who ranted and raved nightly about the guilt of Casey Anthony killing her two-year old daughter, dubbing Anthony “tot mom.’
Grace is an attorney and former prosecutor which evidently gives her the right to prosecute in a public forum, on TV, in print and anywhere else her mouth takes her, even when a trial is ongoing. A lot of people were shocked and dismayed that Anthony was found not guilty but the fact remains that 12 jurors obviously had a reasonable doubt. Grace, on the other hand has never had a reasonable thought or it might have dawned on her that “her way” wasn’t the only way to go. I actually thought the not guilty verdict might render Grace speechless-no such luck.
Grace single-handedly ruined my favorite morning news program, Good Morning America, by her almost daily appearances in the last month as a so-called “expert” in the case. As I drank my coffee and listened to her talk over Robin Roberts’ questions, bulldoze her answers through another commentator’s statements, screech “tot mom” over and over and criticize anyone on the program who disagreed with her “guilty” point of view, I had enough. I no longer watch GMA, as I think they went off the deep end in considering Grace an “expert” in this case, (note to GMA) A loud opinion does not make someone an “expert.” Grace, and her unprofessional and caustic demeanor has really given the law profession (not always thought of in high esteem) a black eye, hearkening back to the days of ambulance chasers.
Grace said she was concerned that Anthony would get book and movie deals etc. yet Grace has had her face in front of the cameras over this case for a couple of years and has milked it for all its worth. The whole case is sad, a child is dead and Nancy Grace is a disgrace.
Difference between news analyst, commentator and pundit? None
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.
Filed under buzz, politics, satire
Tagged as bill-oreilly, CNN, commentator, FOX, Fox Broadcasting Company, Glenn Beck, news analyst, pundits, Rush Limbaugh, Television