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Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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Pundits And “If”

By on August 5, 2014 in See It Here

In case you haven’t been paying attention, a recent CNN poll shows Hillary Clinton leads all potential GOP contenders in Ohio in 2016. And if you really have been out to lunch on issues that matter, a Quinnipac University poll shows Rand Paul is the closest contender to Hillary when the election take place exactly 15 months from now.

All the polling is based on two things: (1) that Hillary is a candidate and (2) that the views we have today will parallel the views we’ll have 15 months from now.

Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and the Sunday talk shows pay their “pundits” to espouse wisdom and insight to the rest of us about something that hasn’t happened yet involving people we’re not sure will participate. Poll after ad nauseum poll is taken to quiz America and, these days, a specific demographic of America– (blacks, Asians, women under 30, Hispanics 22-35 and sometimes southern white men with pickup trucks) about how they’re going to be thinking more than a year later. And they do it with this opening line: “If the election were held today….”

Memo to pollsters: the election isn’t going to be held today.  Now, a lot of this nonsense is to track trends and the questions are designed to measure “leaning toward” or “leaning away” on a potential candidate’s viability as it pertains to a particular topic. That’s cool but a lot happens in 15 months, much less a year to change one’s affinity for someone.

In the rare event a talk show actually invites a potential candidate to the program, after some back-and-forth on topics that are never answered, the final question is always, “Are you a candidate for 2016?”

The answer to that is “no” and it’s always going to be “no” more than a year before the polls open. But, of course, that has nothing to do with the question being asked. It is one more chance for the next hour to bring the pundits back on to talk about the interview just watched, and the host back on to talk about the interview just completed and the newsroom to write another story about “Candidate A continued to say today he/she isn’t running in 2016….”

This is one more reason to read a book, even fiction, because, unlike this non-stop nonsense,  one learns something they didn’t know. Gee, if I were to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in 2016, would my opinion of Chris’s problem be different?

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