Voice of the People
What Exactly Is a Pundit Anyway?
By Thomas Emmon Pisano
I have been watching in earnest the political games being played lately and have been wondering what exactly a pundit was. Everywhere I turn in popular media there is a pundit ankle deep in the analysis of our current political process. When I watch with any seriousness the endless news shows with political commentary, I wonder how many of these influential pundits are part of the reporting agencies attempt at swaying the thinking of the American voter in a certain direction. Do they think they are influencing our political minds? Are they swaying our judgment in any way as they present their slant or their media owners tilted view of a particular candidate, political issue, or topic? Does the word come down from the top as to how the commentary news should be reported? The word pundit strives from the Sanskrit Hindu word Pandit that literarily means a learned, wise person who knows and understands law, religion, and philosophy. Our modern pundit is no more than a person who has expert knowledge on a subject(s). Are these pundits who populate the news really wise learned persons on a topic or expertise? Or are they just talking heads who are told what to say and how to act while saying important news to the public-camera? I think they are the latter; talking heads whose sole purpose is to sway the minds of the public towards the thoughts of some ideological philosophy bent on keeping the people under their thumb. Yes, we are afraid of the big bad wolf especially when it is dressed like the President of the United States. Insanity in the Presidential Office of the United States of America is a real and powerful problem. We must never forget that this office is privy to some of the most powerful weapons on our planet. We must also remember that this office is responsible as a head of state to the world. Whoever holds this office must be capable of making things happen internally while often times responding properly to world situations as they arise. It should behoove us to choose the best person for that job. There is so much secret money being thrown around to influence the up-coming elections. You can practically see it dangling out of the pockets of those who are claiming to be political pundits. The political party with the most clout is spending a tremendous amount of money to see to it that the proper things are said to help their party hold on to the power to influence the lives of all Americans. Never in the history of these United States has so much been done to manipulate the voters than it has in these elections. This meddling, by media spokes persons, in our political process is criminal and should be investigated by honest government officials. Why should the people with the most money buy influence in the media? It does take unfair advantage. Pundits do tend sometimes to use weasel words to muddy the waters when discussing issues and candidates. I was watching Tim Russert on the television and the questions, which were used, tended to the point that had nothing to do with the true issues at hand, in fact the questions about the Clinton Library were meaningless and sophomoric. I have heard many people use a lot of words to say very little. This is a prime example of how these political pundits misuse their power by taking the viewer off topic. We are informed as Americans and need to be kept on the hard facts when it comes to what is really important to our nation. Things, for example; the price of fuel, the war in Iraq, the economy, health, taxes, the list is endless. Still the smart questions are laid off to stupidity, who can figure what is going through the minds and pocketbooks of these political pundits. And as I suspected this election has become nothing more than copious amounts of muddy water with some of the pundits splashing around in the shallow end of the pool. Sunday is our day to watch the political commentary at our house on the television and it is amazing how many pundits have come out of the woodwork to make their statements about the political climate here in America. There are pundits commenting on everything from the strategies of the Fed rate cut to the future aspirations of popular call girls. I am assuming that the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech are truly at work in the popular media. The point I am trying to make is there is much noise now and everyone who may or may not matter is opine towards this or that topic. That these learned persons should open up their heads before they open their mouths and find questions to ask the celebrity they have cornered, which matter to the American people. You know the questions and you know what I mean when I say that these commentators should seek the truth in reporting. At noon I switch off the television and go to my computer's word processor and continue to write my own opinions. I am not saying that we shouldn't have an opinion or commentary we should keep in mind the sacred trust we have to the American people concerning good journalism. If we become pawns of the political process then we have lost the true power of the press; to be unbiased and honest towards the facts as they stand.
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Mr. Thomas Emmon Pisano, an electronics-engineer-turned professional writer, serves as US correspondent for The Seoul Times. A New Jersey native he has lived in California. He has started his writing career in 2003 and has authored four books including “No Murder Too Small” and Big Crimes Small Miracles.”