One of the problems with political commentary is that far too many of the talking heads have a vested interest in the very process they’re commenting on. I’m not concerned with the fact that commentators are ideological–this is a feature of almost any field, and if you spend enough time thinking about a subject, you will eventually come to take up a stance on its debates. It’s not just a matter of inevitability either: you get good information from an ideologue. If someone is a conservative, then I can at least rely on them to tell me what the conservative view on an issue is, and that’s important information (not every political issue pits liberal against conservative). What’s worse is when the commentators are linked to the political process not just by having an opinion, but by being closely associated with the figures they’re commenting on. Case in point:
Karl Rove will be an on-air contributor for the Fox Super Tuesday coverage. The same Karl Rove who was instrumental in smearing McCain and using dirty tricks to get Bush the nomination in 2000. While covering the Republican primaries is probably a fairly safe place for him, it’s still just a bizarre choice. This is Fox news, hardly a bastion of critical thought, but the same thing is a problem across the spectrum: the people who are eagerly hoping for positions within the party establishments, or who are just fresh out of some post within the party are the ones who are then going to pretend to be impartial observers of the process.