These three roles in the news media have one thing in common... they are all in the business of discovering, presenting and commenting on facts. So even though their pay checks come from the news networks they work for, their real boss is the truth... or at least, it should be.
Examples of journalists and news anchors not following the principles with which their entire profession depends upon are staggering... it's not that long ago that the media all around the world were throwing their support to the United States invasion in Iraq due to the "fact" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But news media deceitfulness is not anything new, and it's not the focus of this post. I want to focus more on the third group... the pundits. There is a misconception about this group that I would like to clarify.
Being a pundit has become a synonym of expressing an opinion. Pundits can say what they think, and it's ok if they're wrong, because people get exactly what they expect from them, an objective opinion. I disagree... It's true that pundits are there to express their opinion, and that opinion can be correct or mistaken, nobody demands their opinion to be the voice of truth anyway, but their job is not just to express a subjective opinion... their job is to express their subjective opinion in relation and by taking under consideration ACTUAL FACTS! I am a fan of Bill O' Reilly... by far my favorite pundit. I have burst into laughter so many times thanks to this man that I consider his show a true work of comedic art. For example, the video below is definitely one of my favorites.
At some point, even Richard Dawkins, who has made a career dealing with the most narrow-minded, superstitious arguments, stands in awe of this man's lack of knowledge. Only a true comedic genius...would manage to screw up the facts for a debate over such a fact-free topic like religion. I mean, religious people don't need facts cause they rely on faith, and it's understandable. So it's safe to say, that when you are in a religious debate, chances are you won't be hearing about many facts because when you approach things with faith, you cannot lose an argument... ever. But no, Bill here actually tries to pass his opinion as fact-based and what he presents as a fact is actually a complete lie. He states that Hitler was a "confirmed atheist" in his attempt to prove to Dr Dawkins that the holocaust was conducted by an atheist. He also states that the founding fathers of the United States believed that "religion is a good thing when people embrace it." I love your little opinions Bill, but the problem is that Hitler mentions his devotion to Christianity and specifically Roman Catholicism numerous times in his writings... and it doesn't take a lot of journalistic skills to find that out either, you've written many books, try reading some too. I mean, the god damn swastika was a medieval christian symbol Bill! As for the founding fathers being religious, well... not quite.
"There is not one redeeming feature in our superstition of Christianity. It has made one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites." - Thomas Jefferson
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." - James Madison
"Lighthouses are more useful than churches." - Benjamin Franklin
Seriously Bill... How on earth did you manage to screw up the facts of a fact-free topic?
Simply because someone is a "pundit," it doesn't exclude him from the journalistic obligation of presenting his opinion based on actual facts and evidence. Your first and most important duty is to present the facts... and then, you are free to express your opinion about them. That's how a real pundit operates... that's how a real commentator earns a living. What you are making a living out of Bill is not journalism... it's not commentary, it's not pundit-ism, opinion-ism... what you are doing is much simpler than that and there's a lot of money in it too. Entire entertainment industries are based on it. Thank god we have a very rich dictionary and we don't have to refer to what you do as "journalism" or "commentary", because there is a word for expressing an opinion based on rumors and non-existent evidence Bill....
...it's called "gossip!"