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Dear Shatta Wale, Punditry Is A Job!

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

One of Ghana’s popular personalities, Shatta Wale, well known just not for his musical prowess, but also for his usual outburst – is out again with another tantrum.

The musician, in another tirade on his live social media feed, addressing a myriad of issues, touched on a matter that he seems to be obsessed with; punditry!

According to him, he considers punditry as not a job and has no regard for persons who assume such role in the creative industry. Unfortunately, the famous artiste does not wallow alone in such ignorance; he takes along a legion of his followers who believe almost everything he spews.

It’s about time we call out the artiste when he makes such ill-informed and obnoxious commentary and probably offer some education to him and his followers – and this time I am calling him out!

Punditry

It is galling to realize that most of these loud-mouthed entertainers and some of their followers are ignoramuses when it comes to the subject of punditry. Their lack of knowledge and their obvious refusal to learn culminates in their lack of appreciation, respect and recognition for pundits.

Punditry is simply the expression of expertise in a particular subject or field and a pundit is an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called upon to give their opinions to the public.

Media has ensured that once there is programming that covers almost every sector of the economy, there would be punditry on various shows that hinges on politics, sports, entertainment, travel, technology, agriculture and many others.

So, yes, there are political pundits or commentators, sports pundits, technology pundits and of course entertainment pundits.

Ignorance

Most of these naysayers are oblivious of the structure that pertains in the showbiz industry. Just like every sector, there are major players, stakeholders, policy makers, partners, corporate firms that are all engaged in the business and then there are hosts and presenters of various shows on radio, TV and podcasts that are dedicated to analyzing systems, happenings and everything that pertains to these players.

Most of these shows require pundits to offer their expert opinion on various related subjects connected to the industry.

Unbeknownst to many of the naysayers, every pundit has a primary expertise in the business, meaning, a pundit has his/her first calling within the industry before becoming a commentator or analyst on a show. So, there are pundits who are journalists, bloggers, event promoters, artist managers, music producers, event organizers, musicians, actors, directors, movie producers and other personnel with the industry.

These guys are called upon to be pundits on various shows by virtue of the fact that, they hold varied positions within the industry and are expected to express such expert opinions on such shows.

Appreciation of Roles

Critics of pundits are oblivious of the functions of these analysts and do not appreciate the role they play in the system. Within the ecosystem of the creative industry as it pertains in every space worldwide, there are the systems/structures, proceedings within the industry and the players such as the musicians, actors, and others – and of course, there are the portals, magazines/ newspapers, as well as TV and radio programming that are structured to discuss all the other elements within the ecosystem.

The role of the music/movie producer is appreciated, that of the musician or actor is well appreciated, the role of that TV or radio host is appreciated but the role of the pundits cannot be appreciated?

The fact is; punditry is part of every industry, from politics to sports and the role of pundits are highly recognized and respected elsewhere in the world, yet, in Ghana, some dullards have the conviction that pundits just get up from their beds, move to radio and TV stations and blurt out nonsense.

No Room for Negativity

It is intriguing to note how these entertainers and some of their ill-informed followers keep mute when pundits shower them with accolades and plaudits when they achieve something meaningful in their respective careers. In such circumstances, the pundits are well informed, know their stuff and are well placed to offer opinions.

However, when these same pundits offer seemingly ‘negative’ commentary over these same entertainers, hell breaks loose. That’s when they spew invective at pundits for wanting to mess up with their careers – making it seem as though pundits are paid to alter and injure their careers.

These entertainers seem to be have the heart to accommodate positive feedback but obviously cannot countenance the opposite. Newsflash; pundits would continue to play their roles; offer their expert and candid opinions on related matters – be it ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ and this phenomenon would continue to pertain, so long as an industry exist.

Sheer Disregard

Understandably, the respect for pundits in this side of the world is nonexistent considering the lack of appreciation and recognition, especially when remuneration is next to nothing for persons that assume such role. Elsewhere, sports, political and showbiz pundits are well paid to offer their expert opinion on various shows.

One can be forgiven for their refusal to recognize and appreciate the role of pundits but what cannot be forgiven is when they threaten pundits, when they behave violently towards pundits. Such crass, irresponsible and repugnant behavior would not be countenanced and encouraged.

For example, that pundit is there to run commentary on your ability or lack thereof to make it to Grammys and suggest possible mechanisms with which you can get there. The rest is up to you. Play your role and let that pundit also play his/her role and once you get a better comprehension on the diverse roles every player holds in this industry, you won’t lose sleep.

 

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