Sociology Index


We now live in a Punditocracy, Eric Alterman wrote; our very democracy is "imperiled by the decrepit state of our national public discourse." Political language is ''the ability to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind,'' - George Orwell. The punditocracy is drawn from the nation's leading Op-ed pages and small but politically influential magazines. The result of the rise of this punditocracy has been an increase in invective, oversimplification and militarization of the Washington political dialogue. One of the greatest successes of the punditocracy is allowing the President to define his program in such a way that it negated the possibility of a principled, patriotic alternative.

Punditocracy as a word entered English in the late 20th century. This was done by monopolizing and redefining the politically charged ''buzz words'' in such a way that American values seemed to argue for the agenda. Punditocracy, an American term, 'Sanskrit' Pundit meaning learned person or authority, and Cracy, meaning rule or government, is a noun used to refer to the elite members of the news media.

The Facebook page of Cbu-Unza Punditocracy Association, The Copperbelt University, was created to provide an open platform for intellectual discourse on social,economical,cultural and political matters affecting the nation. Revitalising the voice of youths and students across the country. English author Thomas Love Peacock used the term Kakistocracy in his 1829 novel, The Misfortunes of Elphin, in which he explains kakistocracy represents the opposite of aristocracy, as aristos means "excellent" in Greek, like kakistos means "worst" in Greek.

The Journalism of Commentators and Columnists has remained a lacuna in media studies. Their work has received so little sustained critical attention that it has become something of a black box, even as as the space devoted to opinion coverage in newspapers has expanded. The section of the newspaper devoted to opinion journalism has traditionally been the op-ed page, so-called because of its usual placement opposite the section containing editorials. Viewed as a forum for the articulation of diverse viewpoints about current social issues, the page aims to provide a space in the marketplace of ideas for the expression of opinions not found in news and editorial sections of newspapers.

Lies, Justice, and the Punditocracy's Place
Remember when lying under oath was the worst thing in the world? By Eric Alterman.
Justice, in the eyes of the Washington punditocracy apparently means that the president has the obligation to prevent the judiciary from carrying out its constitutional role and ignore the sentencing guidelines that conservatives have consistently supported. It also means disregarding what remains of Bush's own Justice Department's recommendations, as well as the principles that he clearly stated while serving both as president and as governor of Texas.

Sound and Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy
Eric Alterman. This is a revised and expanded version of a 1993 book in which Nation columnist Alterman lamented the decline of political discourse in America and blamed its sorry state on the rise of political pundits--those talking heads and self-proclaimed experts who appear on television so frequently.

Rhetorical Rape: The Verbal Violations of the Punditocracy
Daniel Broudy. Critically examines the programs of four radio pundits, Limbaugh, Schultz, Colmes and Hannity and two TV pundits, O'Reilly and Olbermann, comparatively assessing their argumentative styles, call screening processes.

Shouldn't the public hold the punditocracy accountable?
Moloto Mothapo. They're powerful, influential and they comment on every aspect of our lives. They're the punditocracy. But, bizarrely, they seem to be exempt from the laws and ethics governing media. Why? These are the voices of the punditocracy, a clique of professionals who make a living by supplying media with quotable quotes on anything under the sun.

The rise of the media punditocracy? Journalists and media pundits in Danish election news 1994 - 2007.

Abstract: In the literature on changes in political journalism, it is often claimed that journalists and media pundits have become more prominent in the media's political news coverage. At the same time, politicians allegedly receive less attention and are more often depicted either positively or negatively instead of neutrally. It has also been claimed that those commenting on politicians' actions in the news are predominantly conservative.

Based on data from a content analysis of thousands of news stories from all five Danish national elections since 1994, this study investigates whether the assumed changes have indeed taken place. Among other things, the results show that journalists and media pundits today appear more often on camera and that media pundits more often than not are right-rather than left-wing. However, these and other trends are not unidirectional, suggesting more complex patterns than is often assumed.

A Neo-Con Job by the Punditocracy
By Eric Alterman. nytimes. The many successes of these pundits may be unparallelled in American history. A small group of fewer than two dozen columnists, editors and Sunday talk-show guests can shift the terms of political debate, and in some cases, to redefine the English language. Pundits uniformly eschew complexity and often seem to caricature their own views in order to make themselves more memorable. It will be the job of moderates, pragmatists and liberals to try to undo the damage done to our national dialogue by the political hegemony of the punditocracy. It will be a long road back. Step No. 1 should be to inculcate political talk shows and newspaper Op-ed pages with a sense of the complexity of the problems America faces in the world. It took the pundits seven years to create all this damage; it cannot be undone in 15 seconds or less.