Tag Archives: MSNBC

Punditry is the New Black

Punditry is the new black (photo;Lightfoot)

We are becoming a nation of pundits.  Pundits have turned much of our news into a “style ” like the eternal little black dress and the idea that black is chic to wear everywhere and anytime. The problem is pundits should not be everywhere and anytime– it’s annoying.

The term pundit originated in the 17th century from the Hindu word Pandita, meaning “learned.”  A more recent American dictionary meaning of pundit is; usually an elderly person noted for wisdom, knowledge and good  judgement–an authority. Does this sound to you like anyone we see or hear, day in and day out on any of our 24/7 media outlets on TV, radio, print or web?  I can think of only a few pundits that fit this description because true pundits aren’t in-your-face constantly, they are too busy honing their expert skills.  People like Glenn Beck, Nancy Grace, Ann Coulter, Elliot Spitzer and Bill O’Reilly are considered pundits of politics, pop culture or law. So, obviously the meaning has evolved.

Do I value the judgement of pundits? Mostly, no. I do however, value my own judgement, so if you want to just hand me the unfiltered news I think I might be able to make heads or tails of it myself. On the other hand, I would be open to a well-researched, knowledgeable opinion from someone totally in-the-loop, an expert in the field, as it were. Any takers?

The pundit label has a much more casual meaning today in a sort of casual-Friday type way. It seems you can sort-of  have knowledge and kind-of  have wisdom and flip-flop that good judgement around like well–flip-flops. Even some of the pundits that I sometimes agree with like Ed Schultz or Rachel Maddow of MSNBC , get on their TV and radio soap boxes and talk til’ I drop.  I like opinion, I even have one but I don’t necessarily need it dissected and spoon fed to me, with a dose of  bias lacking in any facts, which some pundits are prone to do.

Some radio pundits show their knowledge to listeners by cutting off their callers with differing views and TV pundits have been known to cry and yell on the air, in order to get across their infinite wisdom. These people are doing nothing to elevate the stature of pundit. There really should be levels. We have A list and B list movie stars, why not common ratings for pundits?

A “real” pundit should have the knowledge and credentials to back up an informed opinion.  It wouldn’t even hurt for some topics, to expect pundits to have serious academic or scholarly experience in a subject.  A kind of,  know-before-you-go type of thing rather than a shoot-from-the-hip style. I’ve actually heard people say that many years ago in media land, experts or pundits used to at least attempt to be unbiased and didn’t affiliate themselves with a specific movement or even align themselves with media outlets–imagine that!

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William And Kate’s Royal Wedding: Enough Already!

Westminster Abbey in London

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, so I’m definitely on Royal Wedding overload. I’ve heard enough about British fascinators (little headband hats), what Kate and Williams guests might or might not eat, where they might or might not go on a honeymoon and which bookmakers are giving odds on which of the three already designed dresses Kate might or might not wear.

I’m all in favor of fun and happy news over what our networks typically spew forth on a daily basis and any news that will give a backseat to Charlie Sheen or Donald Trump is right up my alley but…I think all the networks could be confusing many of us Americans with people who give a damn. Not that we don’t wish William and Kate the best, and not that we don’t think lovingly of his mother on this big day but we really don’t need the 24/7 coverage where Barbara Walters tells us how she has interviewed Princess Diana in the past, Robin Roberts reports on how BIG Westminster Abbey is and Diane Sawyer interviews a third cousin once-removed of Williams to give us some real insight.

Leave it to us Americans to turn this Royal Wedding into a media circus.  Many American news outlets will be reporting from London all week-long. NBC has said their coverage will be comprehensive and aggressive? What the heck does that even mean? It’s a wedding not a war.  ABC will have 20 straight hours of wedding coverage on the 29th starting at 4 a.m. ABC also mentions that Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer will “anchor” the wedding.  Who knew a Royal Wedding needed an American anchor or two? Or actually many more as two billion viewers are expected to watch the wedding on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, E, Bravo, MSNBC and Telemundo among many more.

And just in case you can’t take the day off from work and/or it hasn’t been declared a national holiday in your neck of the woods, the wedding will be streamed live online to IPADS, iPhone applications, Facebook, Yahoo! and Hulu. Even some of our U.S. weather channels this week have been reporting on the weather in Britain. I haven’t checked it out myself but I’m pretty sure we can count on it raining on this parade. It’s not a big deal for the Brits, they are used to it. It will give them all a chance to use those William and Kate souvenir umbrellas to keep all their hats dry.

I won’t be up at 4 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding  on U.S. channels nor will I be watching our American news media for 20 hours-or any hours for that matter but I might take a peek at the BBC,  something tells me they will know how to cover a British wedding in short order.

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