No Consequences for Failed Pundits

WaPo media critic Howie Kurtz had this exchange with a reader in a recent online chat:

Pennington, N.J.: Why do we keep having people who were wrong on Iraq giving advice on TV? MTP this week had a politician and two Times columnists who have been consistently wrong. Why not have Russ Feingold, Paul Krugman, and Bob Herbert who were and still are right.

Howard Kurtz: If you banned pundits or politicians who were wrong about something from further TV appearances, the newscasts and talk shows would have a near-impossible time finding guests.

I saw the question in the RSS feed and had formulated almost precisely that answer before clicking through.

Julian Sanchez observes, too, that the very nature of instant analysis virtually guarantees poor prognostication.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. M1EK says:

    On the other hand, if you have people who were so very wrong about Iraq so many times, and so loud and sure of it, maybe, just maybe, it’d be reasonable to reassess their qualifications.

  2. Steven Plunk says:

    Could we keep the hurricane prediction people off the air? They certainly failed us all.

    Why is newscasting becoming more concerned with predictions rather than actual news and analysis? Seems like we all lose when this happens, less real news and more pointless blather.

  3. Perhaps we should just have a prognostication score. So many prognostications that turned out true, so many that turned out wrong and so many that are still pending. Of course once you do this, you risk the wrath of captain obvious with pundits predicting the direction the sun will rise tomorrow. So maybe a 0 to 10 point weight to each prediction with the time a seriousness of the subject being used to winnow the wheat from the chaff. Predicting when Iran would have functioning nuclear weapons would be a 10 point prediction. Predicting Bush won’t run in 2008 a 0 point value, with ruling out Cheney run in 2008 maybe getting a 1 if the east German judges are still available.

    It wouldn’t be a bad practice for blogs to lead the way on this, especially since they could provide links to their predictions and the results.

  4. Did someone quote Bob Herbert as a source who was right on something? As the old saying goes, even a blind squirrel will find an acorn every once in a while.

  5. McGehee says:

    Howard Kurtz: If you banned pundits or politicians who were wrong about something from further TV appearances, the newscasts and talk shows would have a near-impossible time finding guests.

    Is this supposed to be a bad thing? I mean, other than for the people who have to try to book guests on these shows?