The public record…

In our technological age it’s possible to trace a person’s public statements across the years and compare them as they evolve. One might think that such comparison might lead to accountability. In politics, that may be so under certain circumstances, with certain people, and certain types of statements and issues. Sen. Trent Lott’s recent troubles provide a good example.

Pundits, on the other hand, seem to be able to say just about anything without such accountability. They appear to be completely free to change their minds, and history, as they so choose to meet the demands of the moment.

Bob Somerby makes it his job to point out such transgressions. Today’s installment of The Daily Howler is enlightening reading regarding Chris Matthew’s opinion of media bias as it allegedly played out in the commentary about the third Bush-Gore debate in 2000.

I do not highlight this as an example of conservative transgressions. Liberal pundits can be just as guilty. Instead, this is an example of the shifting realities of punditland where the theme song appears to be Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.

A thought occurs: It seems to me that, in order to hold someone accountable, their words must matter in some way to the civic discourse. Certainly, a senator’s words matter. So what does it say about the value of punditry in this country when, as in this example, Matthews can re-write the history of his own “expert commentary” and no one seems to care (i.e. he still has a job).

Pundits = Entertainers. Is this the sorry truth?