Burriss: Hacks & flacks offer nothing

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There has long been concern about the revolving door of individuals switching jobs between government and private industry. These government officials going to work for private industry and employees of private companies going to work for government agencies have grave potential for conflicts of interest.

And nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of former government advisors acting as commentators hired by the plethora of television talk shows.
Flip through the channels some time and notice the titles: "former advisor," "former speech writer," "former chief of staff." I'm not talking here about the occasional interview subject. I'm talking about people who are identified as someone who actually works for the talk show.

Now, notice how often these so-called "commentators" say something negative about their former employer. You'll have to look and listen for a long time. In fact, these analysts, and I use the term "analyst" loosely, simply have a new title doing their former job: protecting and promoting their former boss.
At the other end of the political spectrum, notice how often a representative of an opposing side says something positive about the opposition. Again, you'll have to look and listen for a long time.

Which gives us the viewers and voters absolutely no impartial comment and analysis!

Not so many years ago the talk shows were staffed by real reporters who had spent a life-time covering government and industry. They were experts in the field, and used their contacts to give us perceptive and insightful views and opinions. And they didn't argue with the guests. Instead they ask probing questions, listened for the answers and then followed up with short, to-the-point questions.

It's interesting that as networks have cut back on their own specialists and experts, they have come to rely more and more on the revolving door where it is hard to tell who is representing us, the public.

News and information presented by journalists? Probably not! Propaganda and bias presented by hacks and flacks? Much too often!

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Larry Burriss
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