The Hackocracy

THE HACKOCRACY….Matt Yglesias warns aspiring pundits against appearing on blowhard radio and TV shows:

As I well recall from my appearances on the Hugh Hewitt showing, appearing on hack-controlled media outlets is not an effective method of persuading the audience. The rules are rigged….Television is especially tricky for providing the illusion of unmediated reality while, in fact, allowing a thousand different kinds of mediation. Thinking that you can beat television professionals whose job is to make you look bad on a television network that they control is just hubris. Nobody’s that smart. Nobody’s that clever. Nobody beats the producers.

Boy, is that right. Unless you’re a seasoned pro yourself, you’re not going to outduel guys like Hewitt or Bill O’Reilly. You’re just not. And if the next day all your friends give you high fives and tell you that you kicked ass, they’re just being good friends. Believe me: you didn’t.

Luckily for me, whatever kind of ego I have, it’s not the kind that wants to appear on TV shows jousting with people determined to prove I’m an idiot. So I’m not tempted. And let’s face it: the kind of folks who listen to Hewitt and O’Reilly and their ilk aren’t going to be swayed by even the most silken-tongued liberal in the world. So what’s the point?

As near as I can tell, the exception to this rule is people with deep subject area knowledge and some level of conservative cred — even if they aren’t actually conservatives. Military officers, for example, or tough-guy journalists who can’t be brushed off with the host’s usual bag of smarmy slurs. For the rest of us, though, just forget it. Direct your energy somewhere else.