Doth Pundits Talk Too Much?

Howard Kurtz has some criticism for the cablers in how they covered Monday’s Senate hearing with Alberto Gonzales over the domestic wiretapping issue:

“The cable nets all made a great show of ‘covering’ the Senate Judiciary hearing by carrying the AG’s opening statement, then maybe a question or two from Arlen Specter. Then they trotted out their legal analysts to talk about the meaning of the hearing, which by then must have been eight or nine minutes old. The hearing became video wallpaper as the cable talkers talked. They never even got to Pat Leahy, the panel’s top Democrat, meaning that only Republican voices were heard. Gonzales essentially got a free ride.

“Then everyone moved on to other subjects. MSNBC went back to the hearing for a couple of minutes but thought better of it. We had CNN looking at Fall Fashion Week, Fox ginning up a debate on Ken Mehlman calling Hillary angry, and MS doing a ‘Massachusetts Murder Mystery.'”

While Kurtz says he’s not arguing they should have done gavel-to-gavel coverage, he says it was important enough for the cablers to dip in and out of the hearings through the day: “Instead, we had the appearance of coverage, and even that didn’t last long.”

Is cable news too quick to revert back to its own experts in place of providing actual coverage? The answer is probably a resounding yes.