The New York Times‘s Paul Krugman is a modern-day Nostradamus — his predictions (usually concerning the economy) almost always come true. At the other end of the spectrum, if mustachioed conservative columnist and Fox News “expert” Cal Thomas says something is going to happen, it is almost certain that the opposite will occur. All this is thanks to a study concocted at Hamilton College:
Op-ed columnists and TV’s talking heads build followings by making bold, confident predictions about politics and the economy. But rarely are their predictions analyzed for accuracy.
Now, five Hamilton College seniors led by public policy professor P. Gary Wyckoff have analyzed the predictions of 26 prognosticators, sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major print media and who appeared on the three major Sunday news shows – Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week – and evaluated the accuracy of 472 predictions made during the 16-month period.
Led by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the most accurate pundits were Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – all Democrats and/or liberals.
Those scoring lowest – “The Ugly” – with negative tallies were conservative columnist Cal Thomas; U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC); U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI); U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a McCain supporter and Democrat-turned-Independent from Connecticut; and Sam Donaldson of ABC.
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