Oft said before but bears repeating: Jonah Goldberg on the media role in the bunkum cult of the expert:
There are no more devout members of the cult of expertise than mainstream journalists. They rely on experts for guidance about what is “mainstream” and accurate and what is not. Sometimes that’s fine. Surgeons are extremely reliable sources to explain how a heart attack happens. They’re not as reliable at telling you who will have one, save in a statistical sense, and even less reliable at telling you when a specific person will have one.
That’s because prediction is hard. Experts — in politics, economics, climate — are very, very bad at telling people what will happen tomorrow, let alone next year or next century. How many of the economists who tell us what to do now failed to see the mortgage debt crisis coming? Nearly all of them.
Philip Tetlock’s 2005 book, “Expert Political Judgment,” , documents that the predictions of even the most credentialed and experienced experts are often worse and very rarely better than random guessing. “In this age of academic hyperspecialization,” he writes, “there is no reason for supposing that contributors to top journals — distinguished political scientists, area study specialists, economists, and so on — are any better than journalists or attentive readers of the New York Times in ‘reading’ emerging situations.”
See also: Major media are not written or broadcast for their traditional audience any more. (The new audience is government.)
Follow UD News at Twitter!