Matthew Felling Talks About Talking Head Accountability: '(I)f Somebody Gets It Wrong, They Are Grounded'

Reliable Sources asked a question about the talking heads on TV that have been chattering about the VP picks.

Matthew T. Felling, makes a great point about holding them accountable for a change and that's something I've talked about also:

Felling: I wish that we would see some accountability, where if somebody gets it right, you know, they get a little bit more airtime in the fall, but if somebody gets it wrong, they are grounded.

Pundits taking a little responsibility for their opinions for a change. Wow, what a concept. I'd love to keep a score card on all of them and see how their opinions come out. Would Bill Kristol have racked up so many demerits for his views by now that he'd be kicked off TV already? Fat chance.

I wrote this post with Michael Hanlon in mind: C&L’s Accountability for the Punditocracy Proposal

Here’s a few things the networks can do to clean up their act.

1) Set up an Ombudsman with a staff for each network that isn’t an employee of their corporation and have a weekly segment devoted to policing the media. They will also be available to take complaints reported by individual citizens and investigate them thoroughly.

2) Replay clips of each pundit when they’ve been proven wrong and let them explain their positions and why they thought they were right and ask them how they will correct their mistakes in the future.

3) Keep track of their infractions and set up a benchmark, like a 3 strikes your out rule for pundits. When they hit the benchmark, suspend them for a period of time so they can reflect on their mistakes.

4) When they return to work, ask them why they should be believed in the future.

5) It would be nice if they stopped using pundits that we know have been wrong over and over again.

(transcript below the fold)

FELLING: Oh yes. I was waiting for Governor Palin from Alaska, because she is the dark horse on Fox News Channel.


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KURTZ: Isn't this almost on a level of self-indulgent entertainment?

FELLING: Oh, it is everything that is great about cable news in terms of strong opinion and forceful TV. And everything that's horrible about cable news: complete cluelessness, complete conjecture, and no accountability.

I mean, when you watch these things, it's great -- it's a great barroom argument where it's like -- it sounds like March Madness. It sounds like, you know, well Baylor's got a strong front court, and I think that Duke could get -- everybody has their pet theories, and everybody has a pet theory for, well, Biden has the foreign relations experience, and this guy has -- Indiana -- Evan Bayh has Indiana in his pocket and we might need that.

It's perfect filler time for the cable networks to move on. I wish that we would see some accountability, where if somebody gets it right, you know, they get a little bit more airtime in the fall, but if somebody gets it wrong, they are grounded.

KURTZ: Yes, dream on. And it's not just cable, but cable is the prime offender.

FELLING: Yes.

KURTZ: But network news does it and newspapers certainly do it.

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