Friday, January 14, 2005

Bring me the head of Paul Begala!

Is it to much to ask the pundits who are supposed to represent the progressive/liberal perspective to actually be prepared to deal with situations like this (courtesy Atrios):

NOVAK: Howard Dean is running for Democratic National Chairman the same way he ran for President-- as the squeaky clean candidate. Well, he may have been squeaky, but he wasn’t so clean. Zephyr Teachout who was head of internet outreach for the Dean campaign has revealed the campaign hired two political bloggers to say positive things about Dr. Dean at the price of $3,000 a month-- that’s play for pay. Meanwhile, one of the great former DNC chairmen, Bob Strauss, has endorsed one of the candidates, and it is indeed former Congressman Martin Frost, who, like Strauss, is a moderate and a Texan. Will the DNC members be that smart?

BEGALA: I don’t know. First, if in fact people were paid to flak Howard Dean and didn’t disclose it, that’s reprehensible. We talked about that earlier with Armstrong Williams, and the same standard should apply to liberals.

Apart from this being yet another example of how Paul Begala blows as a left-wing pundit, this is also a demonstration of one of the fundamental flaws of TV punditry: the format demands that its participants express an opinion on everything even if they don't have the necessary information to express an informed opinion.

I am reminded of the story of a guy who was invited on a FOX show to discuss some issue that he was an expert on. However, just before he went on the air, some breaking news story happened. The FOX show didn't have any available experts on that topic so the host of the show (I think it was O'Reilly) simply asked this previously booked guest to express their opinion. Obviously, the guest didn't know one thing about the particular topic and, being honest, said as much.

He was never invited back.

"I don't know" is simply not an acceptable answer in the modern establishment media.

Of course, Paul Begala is supposed to be an expert on things like this, so the fact that he got the facts so horribly wrong just demonstrates that he is long past his prime and should be fired.

Oh wait, he already has been.


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