Political commentators (knighted with the title of “pundit”) are a predictable feature of news programs. Their supremely confident responses to questions bear the tone and style appropriate to the declaration of self- evident facts, and are uttered without a single reservation as to the possibility of error; all such pronouncements being all dutifully made while smiling at the viewing audience through the camera lens.

Every politically themed television has its available dug-out of active, reserve pundits ready to be summoned and put into play.

There would seem to be no question or issue, national or international that is not responded to instantaneously, with great self- assurance, and without the necessity of time-wasting, prior thought or consideration.

To be truthful and fair, many of the inhabitants of the remote punditry planet are well-informed, educated members in good standing of the nation’s media, who are usually acceptably rational, and often correct in their pronouncements.

However, it is the self-assured, pedantic tone and unvarying assumption of flawless rectitude that is irksome. Conceivably, they may in some way lack the ability, or willingness, to consider that their viewers do read newspapers and have at the least, some modest, capacity for independent thought. If, in fact, the prevailing assumption entertained by these television commentators, is that an adequate understanding of the news by the viewer, is only attainable by means of their translation of events, the assumption is false, arrogant and no less than classical hubris.

Educated and well-informed people should always think independently and not accept as a mantra the comments of the pundit. Importantly, it would be more tolerable and aesthetic if these venerable experts would express themselves in the tone and context of opinion and even, dare we say, with reservations, if applicable.

The following Rosetta- Stone sampling of “pundit-speak” code may be useful:

Code                                                                        English

“double- down”                             presses the point

“dig down”                                       look into the background

“there’s no there, there”             idiotic way to say no basis for

“it is unclear”                                   I don’t know

“that being said…”                        speaker will contradict himself

“so”                                                     prelude to any answer

“so to speak”                                     in a manner of speaking

“group- think”                                 inside the box attitude

There are many others, but it is hoped that familiarity with some pundit jargon will be useful, to some degree, in moderating awe.

It appears that pliny is a pundit agnostic.




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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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