In 2022, the Pew Research Center did a survey of nearly 12,000 journalists in the United States. There were all sorts of questions asked, from whether they were satisfied with their jobs (seven in ten were) to whether their jobs had a positive impact on their emotional well-being (about half said yes.)
But there were also some darker responses. Journalists were asked to describe their industry with one single word. And stunningly, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) used a word with negative connotations:
Those were but a few.
There is a lot more to this survey, but I’d like to focus on this aspect. Because I believe it helps us to understand some of the games that many journalists and pundits play and why those games are about to get even more chaotic.
The reason I say this is because Donald John Trump is about to get indicted. For years the talking points of many pundits have been IF and not WHEN Trump is indicted.
This lamenting, this worrying has worked for many pundits in that it got many eyes to fearfully focus on the TV screens, as some pundits succeeded in scaring the heck out of their viewers with their “what if he gets away with it” bloviating.
Only now, it appears Trump has gotten away with nothing. And that scares some pundits because they will have to change the way they break down the news. In actuality, it has already begun.
The other evening I witnessed one pundit solemnly tell their viewers that an imminent indictment is bad news for the Democrats.
It is bad news, this pundit mused, because now Trump will gain the nomination! He’ll become a hero, and all Republicans will rally around him.
This, of course, is baloney but think about this survey. Think about the words used to describe their business.
“Chaotic.” “Stressful.” Many have an idea that pundits have it easy, that they sit with blindingly toothpaste-white smiles, pampered by loving producers as they speak to their audiences.
In reality, it’s a hard business. There is always competition, and pundits must do whatever works. And sometimes what works for them may not work for their viewers — or help these viewers.
So be aware. The walls have started to close in a bit on some pundits, and you are going to hear some insane hypotheses in the upcoming weeks. Take it with a grain of salt, and don’t let them fill you with the same chaos and stress that many of them are swimming in.