Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Roundtable

The weekly political "journalist" roundtables have long been one of my major media pet peeves. You get two versions of them. The first version is the Washington Week in Review version which is all "objective" journalists who come on to discuss the issues of the week. Who are constrained by their positions to be "objective and balanced" and cannot really express opinions. Except they are there to express opinions. So the only opinions they can express are those things which are "conventional wisdom." Which is usually just the coalesced Gang of 500/The Note talking points. Which are heavily influenced by the conventional wisdom production machine of cable news talk shows. Which all skew conservative.

The second version is the roundtable which contains a bunch of journalists AND a right wing hack or two (the left wing hack version is so rare as to be an notable event). The right wing hack is not constrained by any conventions of "balance." They can say what they want and argue any point, while the journalists can sit there and spew their recycled conventional wisdom talking points.

Neither version is especially useful for our political discourse. Neither version puts the journalists in a good light, who put their "balanced" authority on mostly inane gibberish in the first category and, in the second, allow themselves to put on equal footing with players in the partisan opinion journalism game.

Stop it.