TROY, Ala.—Questioning the wisdom of political pundits and “the mainstream media,” former CNN Headline News anchor Lyn Vaughn told the opening session of the Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month they need to train themselves to “turn off the garbage” of the information age.
The Leadership Conference, co-hosted by Troy University and the City of Troy, annually brings together civic and community leaders, clergymen and business leaders in a collaborative and education forum. The conference kicked off Friday night in TROY’s Trojan Center Theater.
“Turn away from ignorant news commentary,” Vaughn told the nearly 400 assembled, “the pundits don’t know what’s going to happen any more than you do … become discerning consumers of the news and pay attention to what it’s doing to you.”
In the up-tempo speech, Vaughn used her nearly 14 years of national and international anchor experience to comment on politics as diverse as former Vice President Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Mainly, however, she criticized the national news media, characterizing modern coverage as “cheap” and “pundit-driven.”
“These so-called experts – these pundits – why listen to them,” she queried. “The thrill is gone [in finding out the news of the day].”
“The news has become punditry and analysis and I’m sick of it. Tell me what happened today and not what will happen,” she said.
Calling the media “unholy,” she chided the media for being scared.
“You can’t be scared and do that job – it’s a disservice to the viewers and the country,” she said, commenting that the national media was “scared of Dick Cheney.”
“You can’t be on TV and be cute – and [you can’t do a reporter’s job] when you are scared,” she added.
Vaughn left CNN in 1998 to work for a station in Norfolk, VA, returning to Atlanta in 2001. For four years, Vaughn was the host of “Inside Dekalb,” on DCTV. During her tenure, “Inside Dekalb” won the 2007 Southeastern Regional Emmy Award. A native of Lafayette, LA, Vaughn is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles. Vaughn continues to do free-lance work, lending her writing, production and broadcasting skills to several independent projects.
The Leadership Conference continues through Saturday at TROY.