Talking Head vs Governor

December 4th, 2008

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell made the classic mistake of saying what he meant near an open microphone, referring to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano: 

Janet’s perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it. 

Comes CNN’s Campbell Brown, riding to the rescue of her gender:

Wow. Now, I’m sure Gov. Napolitano has many qualifications for the job beyond having no family, and therefore the ability to devote 20 hours a day to the job.  But it is fascinating to me that that is the quality being highlighted here as so perfect. C’mon. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is married with two grown children. His predecessor, Tom Ridge, had a family. Anybody remember a debate about whether they would have trouble balancing the demands of work and family?

Not a smart thing for Rendell to say near a mic, certainly.  And not a politically correct way of thinking.  But I don’t give a fig what Cambell Brown thinks about it.  She’s not credible.  Her well-established liberal bias, so clearly on display during the recent campaign, makes that clear.  Does anyone doubt that she would have been much less offended if the speaker had been more to her ideological liking?  Rendell may be a Democrat, but he supports the death penalty, has expressed at least limited admiration for President Bush, and has committed the unpardonable sin of praising Fox News.

Campbell Brown is just another talking head.  Granted, by now she has more journalism-related experience than the average news reader on TV, but she got started like almost all the rest of them.  The people selected to read the news are qualified first and foremost by appearance, ethnicity, gender, and ability to read a teleprompter.  You can bet that’s the basis on which she was first hired by a TV station.  If she was smart and well-informed, that was just a bonus.  Think about it–how many TV news readers look like normal people?  The women, in particular, are generally younger and look like a Miss something-or-other winner. 

Another deal-breaker in hiring decisions made by TV news organizations is ideology.  Other than Fox News, how many of them are discernably conservative?  Very few.  How many are obviously liberal?  Most.  The fact is, it’s hard to get through a journalism program in any university without being properly indoctrinated in liberal ideology.  For those who don’t go to J-school (remember, the first qualification is appearance), some are smart enough to parrot liberal ideas, and some come to it naturally.

Cambell Brown is one of those who straddles the divide between reporting and opinionating.  Fine, let her peddle opinions.  But I don’t care what she says because I know where she’s coming from.

Believe it or not, I would be just as repelled if conservatives dominated the major media.  But they don’t.  What would be better?  A conscious effort by media biggees to staff their operations with a broader mix of viewpoints.  What would be best?  An iron curtain between reporting and bloviating, with journalists reporting the news straight and bloviators restricted to blathering.  Fat chance.

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