Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Friday, October 22, 2010

You had me at "live in fear"

Via Yglesias, some yank journo writes, in respect of some other yank journo who is apparently being tin-tacked for saying something stupid on telly:

The question here is whether we want to create an atmosphere where commentators need to live in fear that even contemporaneous comments will be scrutinized by the strictest standards of tolerance, and a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy is generally applied toward their employment.

Do we want to live in a world in which television commentators have to think carefully about every single thing they say? Well, that's probably unrealistically utopian and I suspect I would settle for "think a bit, once in a while, about the stream of stuff that's coming out of their mouths". But let's aim for the stars here shall we? My central concept is that perhaps if they were constantly scared of termination by the PC police, they might get into the habit of scrutinisng their every utterance for signs of ideological deviation, and while they were scrutinising, they might once in a while realise that the thing they were going to say was illogical, unpleasant or simply boring. I think we should give it a try, it's not as if it could make the general standard of televised political commentary any worse, could it?

Alex suggested this as a joke for a system for assessing American teachers, but I think it might actually work for pundits - let's just capriciously sack 10% of them, more or less at random every year and see if anyone phones in to say that they miss them.

Addendum: Normally I am not a fan of calling for other people, generically or individually, to lose their jobs - these are after all human beings we are talking about, and even where their politics are repulsive, they often have families and children who can be considered blameless. (I've occasionally remonstrated with Brad DeLong on this score, because I do think it's really quite unattractive to constantly make jokes about the at-will employment of other people while benefiting from tenure yourself).

But in the case of professional TV pundits I'm going to make an exception, because after all, it's not as if they adopt the live-and-let-live philosophy with respect to bloggers, is it? As it happens I don't live with my parents and I do have a wife and a reasonably normal family and social life. But even if these things weren't true, I'd still be a person and deserve a little bit better than the kind of patronising crap handed out by the Andrew Marrs of this world. So game on - if he's going to call me an angry ugly virgin, then I think I am morally in the clear pointing out that he's a great big waste of licence-payers' money and about a thousandth of a per cent as much of a useful or insightful commentator as he thinks he is.
12 comments this item posted by the management 10/22/2010 12:43:00 AM

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