Will Cable News Channels Ever Punish Incorrect Pundits?

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By Alex Weprin Comment

Murphy081210.jpgLibertarian magazine Reason hosts a blog from Radley Balko that takes on the cable news pundit class, harshly criticizing the networks for allowing ideologues to effectively make up facts without repercussions.

Balko spends much of the piece discussing regular TV legal pundit Wendy Murphy (right), who he debated on fellow libertarian John Stossel’s Fox Business show.

It’s all theater, you see. She’s just playing a part. It’s fine if she slanders some people, ruins some reputations, spouts flat falsehoods, and generally dumbs down the public discourse. Because it’s just entertainment. It’s what pundits do.

Cable news is about lining people up on either side and letting them go at it. There’s no room for subtlety. There’s certainly no time for fact-checking a guest’s claims, even after the segment airs. Murphy is pretty, provocative, and confrontational. She’s great TV. That she’s inaccurate, slanderous, and hysterical is beside the point.


Balko makes an interesting point. How many times can a pundit be wrong before the network that has them on pulls the plug? And does it even matter?

Give us your thoughts in the comments.