Josh Barro is trying to put me me out of a future job. Yesterday, he wrote at Bloomberg View about the state of "diversity" on cable news, which usually equates to a controversial or attractive conservative matched against a controversial or attractive liberal. Why not use actual experts instead?
Concha looks at this and sees "The O'Reilly Factor" booking a conservative and a liberal to talk about fiscal policy. I look at it and see the show booking a talk-radio host and a political consultant to talk about fiscal policy. A variety of ideological viewpoints were represented in the discussion, but subject expertise was not. Which is more important?
This isn't unique to "The O'Reilly Factor." On Tuesday night, CNBC’s "Kudlow Report" discussed the approval of the bankruptcy petition of Stockton, California. Stockton’s bankruptcy raises a variety of thorny legal, moral and fiscal issues. Naturally, CNBC had a panel consisting of a political consultant, a pollster and a talk-radio host. The pollster was a Democrat, so there was ideological diversity. But where was anyone with actual expertise on municipal finance?
So much of cable news is like this: lacking diversity in the sense that most of the talking heads are chosen primarily for their talent at talking on television. As the Onion put it eight years ago, "Actual Expert Too Boring for TV."