Monday, January 23, 2012

During an election

With the election season upon us I am blessed with a new source of anger to keep me moving forward. You see, I am like a shark. If I don't keep moving forward, I, well, I don't die, but I lose my chance to eat Roy Scheider and that's an option I cherish deeply. So I'm like a blog-shark. I don't live in water or anything and I am having a medical professional look at that dorsal thingy (gets in the way of my shirts) but I'm a blog-shark. Anyhow, the election year has given me pundits -- self proclaimed experts who feed off of both their own sense of intellect and the mass's need to be told what it thinks.

I hate pundits. I don't even like the word "pundits." It just sounds dumb to me. But when I watch the morning news and see the pundits, I get steamed. I have to run errands so I'll save much of this for later but I will give one example.

A couple of days ago, Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary. I'm not sure what this means but we can ignore that for the moment. He won and all the pundits are now saying how much of an upset that was. Let's think about what an upset is -- an upset is when the result defies the expectation. In a sporting event, this makes sense. One team has the better tools and more experience so when the relatively weaker team beats the odds, that's an upset. But in politics, that isn't the case. They call this an upset and the only thing upset is ME. Remember -- this is about setting and then not living up to expectations. In baseball, the statistics set up the expectations and the people defy them.

But in politics the pundits were the ones who established the expectations based on their own thoughts. Sure, they had some polling (which obviously was inaccurate or useless because it failed to predict accurately), but what they mostly had were their own inferences and assumptions about "people" or "Republicans" or "voters" which they relied on! I don't see it as an upset because I ignore politics, but the pundits, who for weeks were saying that Romney was going to win, were the ones who set up a conclusion and were proved wrong! There were so many polls and estimates, interviews and predictions that all pointed to Romney's victory and yet Gingrich won.

Doesn't this just mean that pundits are idiots? That on even something like this primary, with all their book learning and statistics they haven't the slightest idea who is going to win?

So when they spend the next week and a half telling the rest of the world who is going to win in Florida, and then Ronald Reagan comes out in front, instead of calling it an upset" why can't we just say what it is? Proof that pundits are as clueless as everyone else?

Would we look at a weather forecast that calls for 85 degrees and sunny as subject to an "upset" or a "surprise" when the temp ends up at 30 degrees and a blizzard? It isn't a surprise! It just shows that the weather man is an idiot.

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