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The Qualifications of Pundits

Many of us complain about the media, but we rarely get solid numerical proof that something is wrong. But a study published earlier this month evaluated the accuracy of predictions made by political pundits. Their results? Most pundits were no better at predicting things than tossing a coin. Interestingly, liberal pundits were more accurate than conservative pundits, and this was true even if you didn’t count predictions about national elections. The most accurate pundit was liberal Paul Krugman (who also won the Nobel prize in economics). This is really fascinating: Pundits with law degrees were more likely to be wrong. They also found that pundits were bad at predicting things regardless of the subject — be it politics, health care, or the economy, they were just as bad at predicting the future.



  1. RK wrote:

    No, you don’t think they’d put spin on their predictions, do you?????

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
  2. starluna wrote:

    Very interesting.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink
  3. They exist generally to fill the dead space of the airwaves.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink
  4. Don wrote:

    Chinagreenelvis, you raise a very interesting question and I believe that we may be worlds apart in our perspectives on dead space.

    If I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting that dead space exists of its own devices or at least is created independently of the aforementioned pundits and that pundit blathering fills it to bridge the gaps between what might be described as “live space” or space with real news or information.

    I believe that most talking heads ARE the dead space of the airwaves, hence their blathering actually converts what I’d call neutral space into dead space, hence, dead space doesn’t exist until the pundits create it.

    The two perspectives we espouse seem to be in conflict with each other. Well, maybe not in conflict, but at least they seem to be mutually exclusive. This is sort of similar to the argument over original versus creative sin, I’d think.

    Of course, one could define dead space as being valueless space until something or someone moves to convert it to another state of spaciness. In that case, pundits are converting dead space to worthless space or mindless space. These types of space could be compared with space occupied by a symphony of Beethoven performed by a world class orchestra (ecstatic space) or a lecture by Noam Chomsky (thought provoking space) to get a sense of the true value of pundit space. Valueless space would be an adjunct to the concept that all space is dead until filled and, in the case at hand, pundits are simply filling space and the content of their message is what is dead, taking us back to my theory of neutral space being converted to dead space.

    Actually, I’m getting a little spacy just chasing this around. :>}

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    Is this more evidence that reality has a well-known liberal bias?

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Permalink
  6. starluna wrote:

    Don – that is some deep thinking there.

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Don, you seem to be leaving out two important characteristics of TV space: the capability to attract viewers at minimal cost or controversy, and the capability to promote a specific agenda (political or otherwise).

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    There you go IK, unnecessarily complicating a simple idea that Don pointed out. Jeez. 🙂

    Monday, May 16, 2011 at 8:47 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    I’m just a complicated kind of guy 🙂

    Monday, May 16, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink