Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Most Famous Pundits=Most Wrong. From fair.org. Stanford Psychologist Philip Tetlock did an analysis of pundit predictions to see if there were any strong correlations between aspects of the pundit and the degree to which they made accurate and inaccurate predictions. Turns out, being more famous had the strongest correlation with being wrong in one's predictions:
He initially looked at whether accuracy was related to having a Ph.D., being an economist or political scientist rather than a blowhard journalist, having policy experience or access to classified information, or being a realist or neocon, liberal or conservative. The answers were no on all counts. The best predictor, in a backward sort of way, was fame: the more feted by the media, the worse a pundit's accuracy. And therein lay Tetlock's first clue. The media's preferred pundits are forceful, confident and decisive, not tentative and balanced.
I didn't need a crystal ball to see that one coming. Blowhards like O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and, yes, Franken, tend to prefer getting a rise to being right.

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