There were 3 topics today I found worth commenting on, and they lead me to one conclusion.
One was your standard story of someone who’s written a book which became popular and won awards and all, I forget the title, author and subject except the author was Jamaican, but it doesn’t matter. The point of the story, as seems to be the pattern with all these stories, is that his manuscript was rejected by over 70 publishers before being accepted. Why is it you never read of a famous book that, as soon as the author sent it to a publisher, they realized it’s brilliance right away?
The next two stories both have to do with the Democratic party’s presidential debate. The first issue, which I’ve spent the day commenting on, is how all of the professional pundits called it for Hillary, while a focus group and several polls called it for Bernie. We’ll have to wait for some real polls to see for sure (Any polls that depend on people calling in, or people at home visiting a website, are unscientific and inaccurate. It’s what allowed Bristol Palin to stay on Dancing With the Stars long after she should have been knocked out) but the pundits exposed a clear bias. Online polls are unscientific, but they (the pundits) were basing their stories on nothing at all, save their own opinions (which probably weren’t even their own). Hillary didn’t do badly. She didn’t goof up, she looked good and she sounded smart. Bernie got in a few more zingers, and both Webb and O’Malley had some memorable lines.
Then there was the incident after the debate, when Bernie Sanders ‘rescued’ Andrea Mitchell from being trampled by other reporters and cameramen while she was interviewing him. The thing is, the video, and audio, were terrible. Body parts and the backs of people’s jackets. You could sort of make him out saying “Are you O.K.?” but that was about it.
Every single day, amateurs with cell phones bring us vivid news reports of police killing people, people going crazy when a fast food place doesn’t get their order right, and people spontaneously breaking into dance at Wal-Mart. Here was a room absolutely full of the nations most highly paid reporters and camera operators, and they produced shit.
The point is: publishers, pundits and professional journalists don’t necessarily know what they are doing. Unlike plumbers, electricians, mechanics and brain surgeons, there is no requirement that they know what they are doing, or even a certification process. A publisher isn’t somebody who knows great literature, he (or she) is somebody who claims to know great literature and nobody ever calls them on it.
‘Pundits’ get things wrong again and again and again, but they aren’t sacked if their predictions are always wrong. A professional athlete blows a game or two, their career is over. An actor has one or two movies that don’t make money, they’re done.
Journalists, our traditional defense against bad government, can be as incompetent as they like as long as they look the part and don’t say stuff their bosses don’t like.
Fire them all, I say. Either bring up the amateurs, or make it so there’s some kind of penalty for screwing up.