I never wanted to be a pundit.
~Robert MacNeil


Let’s get this out of the way early. Almost all of us dislike punditry for various reasons. There may be a voice or two out there that we all hold in some esteem and try to set apart from the din of noise but, admit it, they let you down on occasion too. Pundits are partisan by nature. Basically by definition. A pundit is a learned person or someone with “expert” knowledge of a subject. It derives from the Hindu term, pandit,meaning someone who is well versed in a particular subject or subjects.   They offer opinion, hopefully gained from years of study in their chosen field. We think first of news pundits but they exist in sports, music, art, science, and most other fields of human endeavor. Anywhere a learned opinion is needed for a particular subject. Commentators and critics are pundits. When you watch an NBA telecast on ESPN, you hear Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson offering opinion, criticism, and approval. Punditry. But people often disagree with them because much of what they say is opinion. True they are experts, and their opinion should be respected, but it is still just opinion.  Disagreement is common and incredibly constructive.

The problem  of late(the last decade or so), is the blurring of news and opinion. We all know Bill O’ Reilly. Papa Bear. When his show debuted over a decade ago, he took “news” in a new direction. O’Reilly had  a stint with ABC News in the 80’s, but he was from tabloid television. He dealt with opinion, controversy, and sensationalism. He was a crown jewel for FOX News President Roger Ailes.  News divisions were suppose to make profits now. And he was gonna make a shitload. O’Reilly’s smug opinions and combative nature were perfect for the direction he wanted to take “news”. Ailes had no illusions of being “fair and balanced”. He wanted attack dogs. So O’Reilly went to work and it wasn’t long before he was pulling in top ratings for his time slot. Ailes knew one simple thing: Controversy sells. No issue is obvious, don’t argue the defense, argue the controversy. O’Reilly is pretty damn good at that.

So now the anchor was the pundit as well. Guest appearances were either echo chambers or shouting matches. Most often the latter. Audiences ate it up. MSNBC and CNN rushed to get their opinio-news on the air. Today, we all accept that FOX News is a mouthpiece for the Right, MSNBC is  a mouthpiece for the Left, and CNN is….. well, GOD bless’em, they try. And it’s news by pundits. We all know that Jon Stewart and Bill Maher are pundits. They offer social and media criticism. How many of us believe they are better JOURNALISTS than most on “news” networks. Is it that bad?

Given we have an extremely partisan two Party system, it is most definitely gonna be in the political discourse. Each side constantly seeking to one up the other. We all remember O’Reilly’s “ambush interviews” a few years back. The extremely goofy cat fight between him and Keith Olbermann. Taking even 2 seconds away from what you constantly defend as a “legitimate news show” to berate a ratings opponent is douchebaggery of the highest order.  But what is to be expected of pundits parading around as actual newscasters? What was more important — The story, or the “who gives a fuck” opinion of it given by your “arch rival”? They were both behaving like spoiled children.


How much of the news is actually news? It seems to me that one side constantly berates the other but often times bends over backwards to defend one of their own. If you believe the truth lies in the middle, how can you possibly buy in to any of the garbage any of these people spill? If people on MSNBC want to admit they have a liberal network and they are the Democrat network, that’s fine. But stop  calling yourselves journalists. You won’t catch FOX admitting in any way that they are biased. They’ll shovel that bullshit for eternity. And CNN….. Look, we all know they don’t matter. There just aren’t enough wars to send a tight shirted, blue jean clad Anderson Cooper to.




Take the current Anthony Wiener story. Please. People who aren’t paid a single dime, posting various info to blogs, did more journalism than people being paid WAAYYYY too much money to talk to a teleprompter. While they actually investigated the story the “news”, as is their nature, argued the controversy. Jesus Christ CNN, you let Andrew “I’ve Been Caught Lying Multiple Times, Why Am I Still On TV” Breitbart basically accuse Rep. Wiener of being a pedophile. Good stuff CNN. I smell a Pulitzer… prize for being terrible at journalism.


This is America. No one is worried with being correct, only being perceived as being correct. The number one “news” show on TV is hosted by a braying jackass who use to report on Leona Helmsley’s dogs. The country is thoroughly divided and no one is looking to unite it. Unless insults and condescension are suddenly uniting ideals. Yes, you’re very clever. I haven’t heard that teabagger joke yet. Awesome. I guess people voicing their opinion is only great and patriotic when they say what you tell them to say. Guess you showed them. Yeah, they may be wrong but they’re not the end of the fucking country.

And that’s the game. Two sides playing their pieces. Marching orders come down from the top and are dispersed through the media. Too vague? Each Party has set politics. Each Party has it’s own network. Put 2 and 2 together. The pundits control national discourse. As people move to the web for more and more news, they’ll lose some of their sway. But they have  a pretty tight grip right now.


Well, that’s my two cents. Punditry is a pretty old profession, but the way it runs the show now is pretty messed up. I don’t really watch the cable news networks since I’m allergic to bullshit and they’re covered in it. I don’t really care what new thing the Democrats are proposing or what tired old trick the Republicans are using ’cause it’s all bullshit. I don’t listen to their mouthpieces. No politician has brought us anything. The people did. And the people don’t really seem to have a voice right now. It’s all agendas and political posturing. I’ll close with this: “I hate you, Chuck Todd.”





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ADONAIMarionKillgoreTroutjkkFLKQµårk 死神 Recent comment authors
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I think the majority of our modern day pundits are really pedants.


You were absolutely right in your definition of a pundit at the beginning of your well-written piece. A pundit is someone with a technical knowledge of a subject so complete that he’s considered an expert.

There ARE no political pundits in the US. I have lived in the UK for the past 30 years. I have many issues with the BBC in general, but as far as their political news coverage is concerned, the people they have offering commentary and opinion politically are either journalists who’ve covered politics since God was a boy, or ex-politicos, themselves, who know and understand political strategy.

There are no ex-movie producers-cum-bloggers, no failed lawyers who live outside of the country and who’ve never voted, no socialite wives of ex-politicians, no ex-sportscasters, and no comedians calling themselves pundits. Here, there’s simply no 24/7 news culture. BBC News 24 and Sky (Fox) aren’t watched unless something out of the ordinary happens and you need news right away. There’s only ONE political blogger, the conservative Guido Fawkes, and he carries NO clout. And I’ll tell you how much of a DEARTH in political punditry the BBC sees in America: Whenever they need someone to comment on a political situation, they always dredge up either Pat Buchanan or David Gergen.

Jon Stewart has better political perception than Bill Maher, but BOTH of them FAILED to draw any sort of analogy to Andrew Breitbart’s participation in the Weiner scandal, and both men count themselves as friends of Andrew Breitbart. In fact, Breitbart has been on Maher’s show THREE times and Maher has contributed to his credence as a journalist.

It’s also pisspoor that MSNBC has pushed the envelope on Bradley Manning and only call upon those notable legal experts Jane Hamsher and David House for comment. No one EVER thought to get a response from the military, and PBS did a brilliant job in exposing House for the money-grubbing opportunist that he is, and you should take a look at Hamsher’s PAC (opensecrets.org) to see what money-laundering looks like. And whilst we’re on that subject too, MSNBC uses Adam Green as a pundit, when he’s the biggest scam artist since Oral Roberts asked people to put one hand on the radio and the other in your pocket to find a fiver to save humanity.

Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell should know better, but often they fall off the wagon. Chris was having a Weiner shot of his own last week in his extolling of Palin. The BBC have high hopes for Rachel in the punditry stakes, but they think the likes of Olbermann a big joke.

Our political media is a total embarrassment. As Thomas Jefferson said, an informed public could be trusted to elect a responsible government. We do not have an informed public because our media sucks shit. When the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives can stand in front of the Capitol Hill press squad and propose introducing a bill which is totally unconstitutional, and NO ONE in the press bats an eyelid or thinks to question it, then we’re entitled to the sucky government we deserve.


I for one can’t spend a minute in the presence of Chris Matthews or Joe Scarborough; in addition to Fox.


I find it hard to believe that Stewart is actually friends with Breitbart. Stewart is not even a pundit. He’d be the first to admit it.


Both Maher and Stewart are also friends of Bill O’Reilly.

KQµårk 死神

Some very good points AD.

“Pandit” huh? Must be related to “pander” as well because they all seem to pander to the base ideologies. Rarely do you see moderate pundits for this reason. The problem I have with pundits is that there is almost zero accountability to what they say. They don’t DO anything and as the saying goes it’s easy to talk a good game. Yet they criticize the people that actually DO things which is of course their right but their words are more and more hollow to me. Even the pundits who have done things in th past seem to lose their perspective very quickly.


I personally do not watch much news as most of it IS BS.

I want to hear what the president says….then you get the pre speech pundits telling what he may say, why, what it will make happen and yadayada.
Then the speech is given and the squawking flock emerges to tell YOU what he really said and/or what he really meant and what people will ( should) think. Reallly.
Then later, for those who did not hear the speech’ they send out sound bites to influence voters and others and twist and omit to make their own and their corporate masters point of view ‘The Truth’.

Then they turn around and focus on totally immaterial subjects, celebrities ( mostly made up PR ) and those interested in real news really could care less about what the Kardasians, Lohans, Spears,etc. are up to today.

And the Beat Goes On and it is discordant.