There are some good commentators and thinkers on TV. I would like to recognize a few. Fareed Zakaria is one of the best thinkers and commentators out there. His Washington Post columns and daily emails are as worthwhile as his Sunday CNN show. David Brooks’ columns at the New York Times are always thoughtful and reasonable; I am sorry he has started writing more about social and cultural issues than about political ones, but he probably correctly perceives social issues as driving political ones. At PBS, where Brooks offers weekly commentary, both Lisa Desjardins and Geff Bennett are pleasant, informed, intelligent and reliable. In Geoff, PBS may have found a replacement for Gwen Ifill as a good, black commentator. Larry Summers, the former president of Harvard, is more than a commentator, but he has brought out intelligent analysis of America’s financial and economic situation, particularly on Bloomberg’s Wall Street Week. Like Summers, Richard Haass is much more than a television commentator, but he is often interviewed and has important insights. He will be leaving the Council on Foreign Relations but will continue to write a Substack column.
I’m sure there are others, but the anchors for the main entertainment and news networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC, CNN (except for Fareed) — leave a lot to be desired. Everybody is obsessed with Trump, but there is other important news. The BBC does a much better job of covering real, hard news than most US networks. What’s happening overseas is probably more important than some young, pretty girl who goes missing, a neighborhood group that has helped someone having a hard time, or who won the lottery; these good news stories are usually a big part of the network “news.” I am all for good news if it is out of the ordinary and therefore “news,” but I’m not for treating ordinary decency as “news.”