A few days ago, in the wake of Patricia Neal’s death, I mentioned the movie she did with Andy Griffith, “A Face In The Crowd,” in which Griffith plays the sort of folksy loudmouth who could be the role model for today’s cable news pundits.
Here’s a perfect example of one of those modern day pundits. Reason’s Radley Balko writes about Wendy Murphy, a former assistant district attorney, who shows up on TV to spout off on all sorts of legal matters. From the birthright citizenship debate to her abhorrent comments about the Duke lacrosse case (she was 100% sure the players were guilty, even when the evidence showed they weren’t) to other topics that are the grist of 24-hour info-arguments, Murphy is often inaccurate and slanderous.
But that doesn’t matter in cable news. She gets invited back again and again because she’s LOUD. She stakes out a position and sticks to it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that she’s wrong, and will say anything to justify her claims. As Balko writes,
It’s all theater, you see. She’s just playing a part. It’s fine if she slanders some people, ruins some reputations, spouts flat falsehoods, and generally dumbs down the public discourse. Because it’s just entertainment. It’s what pundits do.
I’m surprised no one’s given her a show of her own yet.