Journalists should stop subsidizing the pundit class

It seems to be its own past-time to ask John Kasich whether he’s going to run again for president, perhaps even challenging the incumbent Donald Trump.

CNN is especially interested in Kasich’s plans, and the network invited the two-term Ohio Governor to let viewers see into a crystal ball, and know if he sees a way to the White House.

“Right now, I don’t see it,” Kasich told the network, surely dashing the hopes of keen political observers wanting another narrative arc to follow.

“That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be a path down the road,” he said, maintaining the possibility of a plot twist later.

I wasn’t surprised by Kasich saying this to CNN in August 2019, not only because I’m a journalist in Ohio and generally feel there would be more buzz before such a move.

The main reason I wasn’t surprised to read about Kasich on CNN is because Kasich is on CNN’s payroll as a Sr. Political Commentator.

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The time I interviewed John Kasich in Davos

John Kasich interviewed by Tony Ganzer for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. (Jump to transcript)

I recognized John Kasich more from his days at Fox News than as a politician as I searched through the Davos Congress Centre for potential interview partners.

My bureau chief from Zurich and I made up a two-person team for twice daily reports from the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, and we took turns hopping from web feeds, to live events, to demonstrations, and sometimes just walking through a convention center looking for interviews.

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Deploying Machiavelli in the ‘War on Media’

Machiavelli at the NYT

As Niccolo Machiavelli wrote by candlelight about power and people, his bed chamber was spared endless push alerts of ultime notizie (breaking news.)

His estate outside Florence in 1520 remained unsullied by the eternal wails of pundits and sound bytes which seem to drive our modern conversations and musings.

Machiavelli had his own form of media and matter to consume to be sure, but I have to imagine The Prince may have had another chapter or two if Fox News or MSNBC followed the machinations of Renaissance politicking as thoroughly as our world now.

Even without those chapters, Machiavelli’s recognition of what it takes to find and keep power may teach us something amid heated skirmishes in the modern ‘War on Media.’

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A K-pop ‘ARMY’ might show us a way forward in the ‘War on Media’ (no, really)

Journalists, at their core, are supposed to be representatives for their fellow citizens. They’re afforded a Willy Wonka-style ‘golden ticket’ to enter board rooms, factory floors, and the streets of our communities to show and help explain what the heck is going on.

The public expects journalists to use that access and special status to get the public information they need to understand our world better, and know where they might want to advocate, or protest, or investigate more.

This may seem obvious to say, so why say it? The on-going ‘War on Media’ is adding to the already crippling deficit of trust between journalists and some segments of society, and it doesn’t need to be that way.

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