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Donna Brazile Tells The Truth And Shames The Devil

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A weekly collection of thought-provoking articles on tech, innovation, and long-term investing from Nightview Capital’s Eric Markowitz.

There are rare moments when I read a story in the news and feel like I am reading my own writing. It happened again yesterday when I read a piece in the Washington Post by Donna Brazile shaming the devil of modern-day political punditry, in which she told the kind of truths that handily skewer her own profession.

“It’s time to abolish punditry.”

I have been beating the same drum here in the blogosphere for months on end—why, just last week on my personal blog I wrote: “Most of the time the enemy isn’t the left or the right or the center or even the wacko fringe elements of our political universe here in America, but the brain dead and insufferable media who do a woeful job of shaping the political conversation.”

“It’s time to abolish punditry.

If a single move could restore civility to politics, that is it. Get rid of the left-vs.-right commentators who are just out scoring points for their team. This sort of opinion-mongering is not only boring and predictable, it is destructive of the truth. If your only credentials are “GOP shill” or “Democratic hack,” you’ve no business cluttering up the airwaves or the op-ed pages.”

Twelve things the world should toss out: PunditsbyDonna Brazile

I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Brazile’s assessment. When political pundits start telling bald faced lies on camera, or begin to dissemble so badly they might as well be telling bald faced lies, cable news show moderators ought to pull the plug on them. Or go to commercial and have an empty seat where the offending party sat when the program continues.

“Whom do we put in their place? I say replace the pundits with people who have genuine expertise—whether from their academic work, professional life or personal experience—on the key issues of the day. Instead of partisan talking heads or mad hatters from the “tea party” preaching their views on, say, health care and taxes, let’s hear from doctors and insurance professionals, or the number-crunchers from the Congressional Budget Office. They’re much better equipped to help viewers, listeners and readers wade through the facts, arguments and data.”

Twelve things the world should toss out: Pundits by Donna Brazile

Watching politicians and political analysts hold forth on the Gulf oil spill is one of the saddest sights on TV, a mishmash of overt political messaging and poorly explained engineering obstacles that can actually leave a viewer knowing less than he did when he started watching the conversation. Cable news networks have destroyed much of their credibility by relying so heavily on partisan guests with an obvious political agenda. Talking point TV is what drives me and millions of others like me to the internet instead of the cable news shows to get better information faster, despite the extra effort it often takes to discern whether or not a source is reliable.

Will Ms. Brazile’s pronouncement be a wake-up call for network brass?

Probably not. In an industry prone to recycling everything from program formats to news anchors to the sets on which the shows are produced, her comments probably won’t raise an eyebrow. What is amazing about the people paid millions to run these networks is the way they will totally ignore the fact that these systemic flaws one of their own has kindly pointed out are not only true—they are directly related to the screens they all have open on their computers right this second that show in minute detail their declining viewership numbers.   


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