Thursday, November 08, 2012

Explaining Away Bad Punditry

Dick Morris, the American pollster, and Fox News contributor, made a few waves before the election with his extraordinary prediction that it would be a landslide for Romney.  Like all commentators, pollsters and pundits, Dick makes a hefty living by commenting on, rather than participating in, politics.  He is one of the many armchair critics who apparently know so much and can comment so vigorously for substantial rewards, but who actually don't really want to put their heads above the parapet in the real world of electoral and governmental politics.  Thus, Dick fortunately has no responsibilities whatsoever - unlike the men and women he takes to task.

This is lucky, because Dick's Romney prediction was so far out of the ball park it was laughable.  Should he be taken seriously ever again?  Almost certainly not, and his mea culpa on the Fox News site does little to add to our confidence.  He admits getting an entire segment of the voting population wrong - the voting ambitions of black, latino and young voters - but still manages to sound off about where we should go from here.

It's a helpful reminder that while pundits may be part of our need for conversation, their usefulness and reliability pales into insignificance compared to the men and women who are concerned enough to do, and not just say.  When you next hear Dick Morris rail against Obama or another politician, remind yourself that the man can't even get his own chosen art of punditry right. 

NB The Guido Fawkes blog has a piece on Morris and other profoundly incorrect pundits here.

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