You can take the columnist label off of the writer but you can’t take the columnist proclivities out of her.
One person’s “analysis” is another’s “opinion.”
Providing context in “objective” reporting is hardly distinguishable from “spin.”
I predicted when Debra Saunders joined the Las Vegas newspaper as its White House correspondent after three decades as an editorialist and columnist — having recently departed, willingly or unwillingly, from the San Francisco Chronicle as its putative token conservative columnist — that it would be fun to watch how the designation as a “cub reporter,” as she called it, would jibe with her engrained columnist instincts.
On the front page of today’s newspaper, under Saunders’ byline and an “analysis” tag, is a piece speculating on just how political tonight’s Oscar awards television show will be.
The print headline — “Dear winners: Thank your agent but skip the sermon” — suggests that at least some copyeditor thought the piece was more an editorial advocacy than a thoughtful cogitation on the potential political pandering in acceptance speeches.
The online headline is a bit more ambiguous: “Oscars prediction: Litany of anti-Trump lectures will rule the night,” but there is no “analysis” label extant, though the content is the same.
The same piece also appears today at Townhall.com under the heading of “columnists” with a headline: “Oscar Rants.”
It also is posted on Creators Syndicate website under the same headline.
It also appears at The American Spectator website under the headline: “More of the same coming up?”
Whatever it is, its got traction.
Saunders uses the piece to retrace some of the Oscar show’s history of political posturing, beginning with Marlon Brando sending an American Indian to accept his best actor statuette and rant about the treatment of native Americans in the flix.
“When George W. Bush was president, the occasional Oscar recipient railed against the war in Iraq. When Barack Obama assumed office, U.S. troops still served in Iraq, but the anti-war chants met a mute button,” Saunders observes, which certainly does amount to objective observation of the events.
But when she quotes Meryl Streep’s earlier lament at another Hollywood navel-gazing event in which she said those in the room “belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now,” Saunders’ rejoinder is tinged with opinion and dripping with sarcasm: “I can only say that, if having extravagant award ceremonies, staff to shield you from an adoring public and all the other perks of celebrity signify being ‘vilified,’ bring it on.”
While Donald Trump slams journalists and journalists slam him for slamming them and journalist slam actors and actresses for slamming Trump, you can slap any label you want on it, but it is still up to the reader to bring a heaping helping of skepticism and sound judgment to the table when poring over the morning paper and the derivatives and duplicates out on the Web.
Pay no attention to those niggling labels. Read on, dear reader, and enjoy the sarcasm wherever you can find it.