CONFIRMED: Right-Wingers Mostly Wrong

The pundit class in American media has long been deservedly regarded with disdain. They are, as a group, an arrogant collection know-nothings who, via intense self-delusion, think they know it all. I addressed this sorry situation four years ago when I labeled them The PEP Squad: Perpetually Erroneous Pundits. The gist of that essay was to point out that once you become a member of the fraternity it doesn’t matter how much you get wrong, you will still be invited back to deliver more of your bad advice.

Now there is evidence from an academic study of contemporary punditry that shows that the accuracy of most pundits is no better than 50/50. So if you can flip a coin you’re as smart as the average pundit.

The most interesting conclusion of the report is the confirmation that liberals are accurate more often than conservatives. That may be the result of the inherent slant of factual information that was first identified by fake pundit Stephen Colbert who noted that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

The top performer in the study is Paul Krugman of the New York Times. The worst performer is uber-pundit George Will.

The study has some fairly serious methodological flaws in my opinion, including the omission of Fox News from the study. However, the most prominent flaw is that it included currently serving politicians in the roster of pundits. When politicians pontificate on current affairs they are not making predictions – they are campaigning. Therefore, they are not providing their honest opinions about what they believe will happen. They are attempting to influence public opinion to produce the result they hope will happen. To be sure, some bona fide pundits do the same thing, but at least they don’t have the direct conflict of interest that sitting senators have.

It is fairly safe to assume that the results of the study would not change materially if the politicians were removed. Anyone paying attention to media prognosticators over the years already knows that their success ratio is pathetic. If someone in almost any other job made mistakes as frequently as these losers, they would not have a job for very long. But such are the perks of PEP Squad membership.

What we need is a Pundit Certification Council. The purpose of this would be to rate pundits on their accuracy and impose mandatory labels. If they fall in the top third percentile they can be regarded as “experts.” Those in the middle would retain the “pundit” label. And those in the bottom third would have to be designated as “propagandists” wherever they appeared in the media.

This would provide some measure of truth in punditry. It would incentivize opinion givers to strive for accuracy, and give networks, newspapers, etc., a tool to assess the performance of their editorial staff. Then, if they choose to keep propagandists on their payroll, it would be apparent to their viewers and readers. Just imagine tuning in to This Week next Sunday morning and seeing, “George Will, ABC News Propagandist,” in large type below his deceitful talking head.

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14 thoughts on “CONFIRMED: Right-Wingers Mostly Wrong

  1. A Pundit Certification Councel. What a novel idea. I like it!!! And it would work regardless of which network you are appearing on.

  2. How wrong are they?

    “Don’t Know Much About Anything” song parody featuring the 2012 GOP lineup says it all:

  3. “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.” To me that says it all. Conservatives live in a fantasy world. When ever the truth or reality doesn’t fit their world-view, which is almost never, they totally discount the truth. The reason they hate NPR so much is for this reason. Their constanst complaint of “liberal media bias” makes this apparent. NPR reports the news as do other good news outlets. Unfortuneately this puts conservaves in a bad light not because it’s biased but because it reports the facts. Sarah Palin and other conservatives are always blaming their negative press on bias. Could it have anything to do with facts? Not in their minds. It’s is just those mean old liberals in the press out to get them.

  4. Conservatives have been proven wrong about EVERYTHING.

    ALWAYS.

    We needed a scientific study to determine this?

  5. Gruaud lies. And lies. And lies.

  6. Sorry, Scottie.

    Facts are on my side; all you have is your little RW circle-jerk on AM radio and
    FAUX News.

    Let them pull your pud all you want, you’ll always be wrong. No matter what your
    brain-addled, drug-addicted, hypocritical, traitorous masters tell you.

    Sucks to be a confederate, these days, eh?

    • cmon dewd, seriously? I’ve been known to be a dick at times but that’s just unnecessary.

  7. Facts are not on your side, Gruaud. With lame-brained blanket statements like yours, you lose yet another debate. All you have in your quiver is mindless insults.

  8. No problem, Des. The whole RW spin on the OBL takedown kinda had me ticked off.

    Scott, you’re still a conservative zombie. Our country is in the shape it’s in because you and your ilk listen to an irresponsible, thuggish, insulated punditocracy. My insults aren’t mindless; they’re spot-on. Although you do get a cookie for using the word ‘quiver’. That was a nice surprise.

    I think Desdinova’s concern is that ‘we are still all in this together, so play nice’. I also think we’ve probably fallen too far for that; I’ve been playing nice during the 90′s and 00′s and I don’t really see that it got anywhere even 20 years later so to hell with them.

  9. Your insults are utterly mindless. And the only spot you have made is the spot on your pants.

    • Would it be too much to ask that this debate approach the intellectual level of say a 12 year old?

  10. Sorry Mark, no worries. You will never see me again.

  11. Did any of you actually read this study? It is comically bad. Not just the methodology, but the samples they used and the types of predictions. For example many of the predictions were related to the 2008 election where conservative pundits said conservatives were going to win and liberal pundits said liberals were going to win. Had this same study been done during the 2010 election cycle all the conservative pundits would have been right and the liberal pundits wrong.

    This is hardly a well done academic study done by professionals, it is a student project. But even if it is a dog shit study, it agrees with your political biases, so jump on it!

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