The dirty little secret about political punditry, that is not actually a secret to anyone who watches and reads it, is that it’s all lies. It requires very little knowledge or skill, and there are no consequences for being wrong. For a major newspaper to fire one of its columnists for getting something wrong would bring down the whole pundit industry, as that logic would necessitate the firing of them all. Every election pundit is wrong about everything, nearly all the time, and there’s usually a direct correlation between a pundit’s frequency of wrongness and his or her status — see the Washington Post’s stable of columnists for a prime example. The entire punditocracy is a sham, but thank you for reading anyway.I truly wish I could have a well-paid job with no accountability, that I could show up to with tiny preparation, say my piece, and hit the beach. Instead, I'm a junior pundit, a blogger. I steer clear of bullshit predictions for the most part. I try to bring facts and analysis to bear on my subjects. Foolish!
The dire compostability of American punditry cannot possibly be an accident. It's certainly less expensive than the messy business of turning over rocks to find out what's really true in the world. For infotainment executives with column inches or air to fill, cheap is more attractive than accurate is - as long as we keep reading, watching, and listening.
Pundits didn't simply all decide to be media whores because of some conspiracy of contagious stupid. They steered their bullshit freighters into lanes that elicited rewards. First, they got praise, so they extruded more hot steaming drivel. True? Who cares! It was good TV - or radio or print. Then they got to tackle other opportunities to make up bullshit.
For the power elite, the best part of this market dominance in ruminant by-products was that it crowds out the aforementioned turning over of rocks. So there's no accountability for elite crimes - no perp walks to speak of on Wall St. despite a stockyard's worth of excrement all over our economy.
So, the infotainment outfits sell ads, protect their owners and cronies, and keep America in a constant ruckus over faux scandals, while ignoring real and dangerous issues.
Thus every media outlet big enough to try for the journalistic bastardization of balance is guaranteed to have a combination of:
- allegedly liberal concern trolls who spend their punditry iconoclastically telling us how Democrats ought to be more perfect
- and wingnut propagandists who follow the Teapublican line better than Pravda followed the Politburo