Bernard Lewis Makes His Bid for the Stupidest-Man-Alive Prize
Bookmarked at for 2007-03-09

Department of "Huh?"

The Economist's Free Exchange:

Trailing the truth | Free exchange | [P]pundits are almost never punished for being wildly wrong about something. Nor are they rewarded for being right about something—along with 7,000 other pundits. For journalists, a prediction pays off only if it is both right, and unusual. This gives them an incentive to take unnecessary risks, making somewhat outlandish predictions on the off chance that they will be right. Those pundits who "got Iraq right" or "predicted the tech bubble collapse" are feted with speaking engagements and special television appearances, while those who made sensible-but-dull arguments labour in obscurity...

So to argue in 1998, 1999, and 2000 that the NASDAQ would continue rising was a "sensible-but-dull argument"? So to argue in 2003 that a grossly undermanned occupation of Iraq would go smoothly was a "sensible-but-dull" argument? There is something very wrong here.

P.S.: A decade ago, from Robert Waldmann and Tilman Ehrbeck: "Why Are Professional Forecasters Biased? Agency Vs. Behavioral Explanations," Quarterly Journal of Economics vol. 111 pp 21-40 (February 1996).