The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

November 6, 2012

Mike Pound: The sound of political silence is welcome

Listen!

Do you hear that? Know what it is?

It’s silence.

That’s right, after roughly 730 days and nights, the election chatter is over. Or maybe not, depending on what happened Tuesday in Ohio and Florida, which apparently were the only two states where voting took place.

But if the election really is over, that sound you’re hearing is the sound of hundreds of political pundits with their mouths closed. I think we can all agree it’s a wonderful sound.

This may sound a bit strange, but I didn’t really mind all the political advertisements that ran on TV pretty much nonstop. I figure if someone is going to the trouble to run for political office, that someone should be allowed to do whatever he thinks it takes to get elected. Besides, I’m a guy, which means that I never watch commercials. Whenever the sporting event I’m watching goes to commercial, I click through all of the other channels until the sporting event comes back on, so for the most part I manage to avoid political advertisements.

What I can’t stand are the political pundits on the 24-hour news channels. Sometimes there aren’t any sporting events on TV that I want to watch, so I zip around the channels and find myself stopping at one of the 24-hour news channels. Most of the time, I stop at a 24-hour news channel because I think I’m watching ESPN. See, when I see a bunch of people sitting around a desk arguing, I always figure I’m watching ESPN.

On ESPN, the folks sitting around a table arguing are arguing about sports. They’re usually a mix of former players, former coaches who have been fired and media people who don’t know anything but have nice hair. On the 24-hour news channels, the folks sitting around a table arguing are arguing about elections. They are usually a mix of former politicians, political strategists who once worked for candidates who lost and media people who don’t know anything but have nice hair.

On ESPN, the folks sitting around a table argue over which former player, former coach or media person is correct about some upcoming sporting event. Sometimes, two of the folks sitting around the table agree about how a sporting event will turn out, but they agree for different reasons. When that happens, they argue over whose reason is correct. The folks sitting around the table also make predictions about the upcoming sporting event that prove to be correct less than half the time.

On the 24-hour news channels, the folks sitting around a table argue about which of the candidates running for election will win and why they will win. Like the folks on ESPN, the folks on the 24-hour news channel prove to be correct less than half the time. The former politicians and political strategists always argue that the candidate from their political party will win, and the media people with nice hair interrupt them and announce that they are “out of time” on the 24-hour news channel.

It was Al Franken who, several years ago, asked how it is possible for folks on 24-hour news channels to “run out of time.”

Come on, you’re a 24-hour news channel; you’ve got nothing but time.

But, assuming that nothing screwed up election-wise Tuesday (and that is a big assumption), the political pundits will have to go back to their families and wonder why nobody cares about their opinions anymore. And I can rest assured that when I stumble across folks sitting around a table arguing, I am indeed watching ESPN.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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