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by Mimi Brickmeyer, staff reporter  [April 20, 2012]





[]  Talk radio motormouth Laura Ingraham's most famous soundbite may be "Shut up and sing!", which is also the title of one of her books.

Ingraham's silly soundbite conveys the attitude -- shared by many on the loopy far right -- that actors, singers, and other Hollywood entertainers should entertain -- and leave politics to the experts. Like, presumably, Laura Ingraham.

It's a hypocritical soundbite. I doubt that Ingraham's panties would bunch up if some singer agreed with Ingraham's right-wing, warmongering, Neocon views. Ingraham says that singers should shut up about politics, but what she really means is that singers should shut up if their politics differ from Ingraham's.

But it's also an idiotic soundbite. Even an offensive soundbite.

"Shut up and sing!" implies that entertainers lack the expertise enjoyed by political pundits (e.g., talk radio hosts, cable TV hosts, columnists, and authors) like Ingraham. But is that a valid assumption? Are pundits so much more expert about politics than are Hollywood entertainers?

Ingraham might argue, "It's my job to give expert political opinions, so I must be an expert."

No, that's the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. "I'm an expert because I have this job, and I have this job because I'm an expert."

Actually, it's not even Ingraham's -- or any pundit's -- job to give expert political opinions. Radio and cable TV hosts have the job of getting high ratings. They can show off some leg (as do Fox News' bottle-blonde bimbos), or they can spout urban legands about Obama's birth certificate. It doesn't matter how they get high ratings, so long as they get them. That is their expertise.

Likewise, columnists need to get hits on websites or sell magazines or newspapers. Authors need to sell books. It doesn't matter if their screeds are riddled with errors, so long as they attract readers.

Political pundits sell political expertise? Please! When was the last time a political pundit was fired for getting it wrong? Of all the Neocon pundits blowing hot air and spewing Pentagon-manufactured talking points, selling America on the need to attack Iraq in 2003 -- how many lost their radio and TV hostin gigs for getting it wrong?

Not even New York Times sham "journalist" Judith Miller got fired for getting everything wrong about Iraq. Some expertise!

Ironically, actor Sean Penn said before the Iraq War that Saddam Hussien had no weapons of mass destruction. (He even contriubuted to a book about it: Target Iraq). How would Penn know? He went over to Iraq, looked for himself, and made up his own mind. And he got it right, while nearly every Washington DC and New York pundit and journalist got it wrong.

How many talk show hosts lost their gigs because they were wrong about Iraq? Seems to me, not even one! They all continued their lucrative punditry careers, no matter how false their "expertise" turned out to be.

And I don't mean to single out the lunatic Right. Progressives audiences don't care how sleazy or racist Jesse Jackson or MSNBC's Al Sharpton may be, so as long as they regurgitate the lies that progressives want to hear.

Hey, Ingraham, pundits are not experts on politics. You're entertainers -- just like actors and singers. Pundits are in the feel good business -- just like actors and singers. Your job is to make your fans feel good by reinforcing their worldview -- just like actors and singers.

Titanic made audiences feel good by telling them that love is eternal, which is what they wanted to hear. Laura Ingraham and Rachel Maddow make audiences feel good by telling them that Obama is Evil or Noble (take your pick), which is what their respective fans tune in to hear.

Pundits are not in the enlightenment business. They're in the echo chamber business, making fans feel good by reinforcing their worldview. It's a lowbrow form of entertainment, but it's what pays the bills for many actors, singers, and pundits. No political expertise required.

In fact, true political expertise would harm a pundit's career. Serious political and world analysis is dull, complex, and often lacking clearly defined good or bad guys. Whereas pundits are like circus performers and wrestling stars -- loud, colorful, and outrageous!

Actors, singers, and wrestlers are easily as qualified as political pundits to opine on politics, so there's no reason they should "Shut up and sing!"



Ingraham might argue that some pundits do have political expertise. A law degree -- whatever that's worth! -- or some other experience. But many actors and singers likewise come from checkered backgrounds, with all sorts of university degrees and life esperience.

Yes, certain individual pundits, actors, or singers have stronger political backgrounds than do others. But you must look at the individual entertainer, not at their shtick in drawing crowds. Some entertainers sing, some bare their breasts, some play political theater on Fox News or MSNBC. In the end, it's all a circus act.

Speaking of hypocrisy, pundits do behind the entertainer label when they mess up their facts. Rush Limbaugh, often whines when he messes up, "I'm an entertainer, not a journalist, so you can't apply journalistic standards to me!"

Typical pundit. He wants to be taken seriously, without being held to serious standards.

Not only is "Shut up and sing!" a hypocritical stance, it's offensive and anti-American because part of being an American means that everyone has a right to express their political opinions -- no "official expertise" required.

Why does Laura Ingraham believe that certain entertainers (i.e., pundits) have a right to express their political opinions, while other, equally qualified entertainers (i.e., actors and singers) do not?

Maybe Laura Ingraham just hates America?


Mimi Brickmeyer is a Los Angeles based entertainment reporter who has extensively investigated Hollywood's biggest celebrities. Read about her adventures in tabloid journalism in Hollywood Witches.


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