With the advent of 24-hour news, there has to be something that fills those hours. Yes, to some degree, news happens every single minute of the day. But news judgment, which should be our industry's common sense, dictates that very few of those news events matter to the populace at large.
So gives rise to the analyst, which helps fill the duller moments. And it's a tricky business.
We all have agendas. Hell, I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't think anyone out there gave a rat's ass what I thought. (That may well be the case, but I'll take my chances.)
Analysts are no different; they are experts in their field. But for some, those agendas take precedence over their analysis.
The easiest example of this would be a certain media outlet serving, implicitly, as an organizational mouthpiece. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, for example, recently purchased the region's top sports talk radio station; others have wondered openly whether criticism of the team would be neutered. Of course, those at the station say no, but it's a fair question.
It doesn't always have to be organization-wide, either. Which brings me to my least-favorite anaylst on any network that I frequently watch: this guy, whose name I cannot bring myself to type.
I have yet to see a moment of cogent analysis whenever he is on camera. CNN's other political analysts of either party seem to have little problem with this, the most basic aspect of their job. Republican strategists say that McCain is trying to achieve this, Democratic strategists counter that Obama will come back with that. Is it risky? Why is that this is important to be achieved? What's to be gained? What's to be lost?
You may get that from that guy, but whenever I've seen him, it comes in an offhand, dismissive manner. Instead, he cannot wait to jump all over whatever Democratic platform and decry what's so wrong with it.
I can figure that out for myself, thanks.
I'm watching to learn, to be informed, not to be persuaded. I'm looking for information, not beliefs. I'm looking for informed opinion, not outright bias.
He's the worst of the bunch. Sadly, the election is still two months away. That means two months longer of listening him blather on while failing to offer any significant insight.
But not for me. As soon as he comes on, I'm changing channels.