The most clueless political column ever??

by Andrew Gelman on October 14, 2011 · 3 comments

in Media

For professors, tenure means you can teach as badly as you want and they’ll still keep on paying you. All you need to do is show up on time.

For journalists, the equivalent is that you can write anything you want for the Atlantic, the New Republic, the Washington Monthly, and Reuters, and they’ll publish it without editing. All you need to do is send in your thousand words on time.

The standard for football writing are much higher.

See here for details.

{ 3 comments }

LFC October 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I read the linked post over at your blog about the Gregg Easterbrook column. Then I read the p.s. where you said that Easterbrook was worse than Thomas Friedman b/c Friedman’s speculations are sometimes interesting.

Friedman’s NYT columns (the relatively few I’ve brought myself to read) are not good: he has a few idees fixes (sorry, no accent) and he simply applies them to everything. Indeed I think your savaging of Easterbrook indicates a lack of perspective. He wrote a bad column and Reuters printed it. That’s a shame. But when you consider the truly execrable columns by, e.g., Geo. Will and Charles Krauthammer that the Wash. Post runs on a weekly basis, the sins of Reuters in this respect seem rather minor by comparison.

Andrew Gelman October 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm

LFC:

Indeed, I wasn’t judging Easterbrook’s whole oeuvre. I’m just saying that this one column of his is far worse than anything I’ve ever seem from Thomas Friedman. I’m saying “worse” here on an intellectual, not a moral level. Easterbrook’s column was a truly unusual combination of vapidity and error.

Matthew Shugart October 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

What, tenured professors are expected to show up on time?

As my students and colleagues will attest, no one ever informed me of that!

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