"The [Sunday political] talk shows may bore many Americans, but they are crucial vehicles for the White House in setting the news agenda for the week," New York Times reporter John Tierney writes. "For the networks, the programs not only keep the news machine going on a slow day but also generate handsome profits because of their low costs -- and the fact that the big-name guests do not have to be paid.
After Al Gore spoke out against war with Iraq, media pundits like Morton Kondracke and Linda Chavez outdid themselves inventing "disturbing contradictions" in his statements, raising questions about his motives and avoiding the merits of his arguments. "Remember -- the pursuit of facts plays almost no role in our devolving pundit culture," writes Bob Somerby."What does your pundit corps try to get right? They try to get their scripted spins right."
Fox TV pundit Sean Hannity has a book out, titled Let Freedom Ring. Spinsanity.org analyzes its rhetoric, calling it "a poorly researched effort full of blatant falsehoods and highly distorted versions of the truth. ... Hannity seems on the brink of becoming America's leading conservative pundit. Let Freedom Ring is troubling evidence that Hannity won't let a little thing like truth get in the way of his rapid ascent."
Dot-com CEOs, day traders and other leading icons of the roaring 1990s are passing from the scene along with the economic bubble that created them, but Baffler editor Tom Frank notes that "one group remains untouched: the public intellectuals of the bull market. The writers of Dow-worshipping books and commentators who handed down daring pronunciamentos from the silicon heights are still cruising from one posh gig to the next.