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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Dan Rather’s gut explains everything that’s wrong with pundit-driven TV reporting


Longtime television journalist Dan Rather said on Tuesday that reporters shouldn’t predict elections based on their gut — but added that his tells him Mitt Romney will have a good day.

“Something in my gut tells me that it’s going to be a good day for Romney,” Rather said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But as a reporter, you don’t report your gut. The polls all indicate, yes, Obama, he has several paths to victory, Romney has only one. But don’t taunt the alligator until after you cross the creek.”

Maybe it’s just acid reflux. What Rather’s “gut” is really telling him is that if the race is perceived as a foregone conclusion, nobody’s going to watch his little panel of experts. So the thing to do is to pull something — anything — out of your butt to explain why this could go either way. Remember my axiom: the job of a TV news talking head is not to inform, it’s to get you to watch TV. Rather’s “gut” has nothing to do with anything other than ratings.

“It’s probably appropriate, if sad, that a relic of the days when three network news anchors stood athwart American political journalism like colossi nicely sums up this year’s MSM punditry,” writes Ed Kilgore.

If the facts don’t tell an exciting enough story, it’s time to give bullshit and magic the same weight as facts.

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