June 14, 2005 | Graham

Wacko, I was right about Jackson: Time for some more predictions

In this blog post I predicted that Michael Jackson should get off. That was two months ago. Now I’m waiting for the stories probing the litigation industry, asking how the matter could have got to court, and putting the media coverage on trial. I hope they come, but I’m not willing to predict that they will.
Predict early and predict often is good advice to would-be pundits because on the law of averages you must get one right sometime. I take a perverse pride in predicting early because I reckon a prediction made at the last moment when things are fairly obvious is hardly worth making. So I take a deep breath about mid-way through each election campaign and have a stab at it. We’ve been right so far (although my mid-term predictions haven’t been as good – I expected Labor to do better in 2001).
What would be interesting would be to rate pundits after the event on the accuracy of their predictions. My cynical advice to pundits relies on the probability that no-one will bother to check-up on your record so you can trumpet your successes whilst quietly archiving (away from your website) your mistakes. Here’s another prediction. Many of the people that the media rely on as “experts” would look pretty ordinary if we checked what they said in the past with what actually happened.
I’ve noted an interesting trend lately. Many Jonahs transform predictions of what will happen in the future (which are frequently no more than opportunistically chosen straight-line projections from fluctuating or cyclical data)into actual statements of fact to “prove” that we are all ruined in the present. I could pick on Greenhouse advocates, but I won’t. People in my own real estate industry do it to both spruik the potential for capital growth, and simultaneously panic the government into trying to lower the price of housing because of a decrease in affordability.
Now I believe in greenhouse and capital growth, and I’m concerned about affordability, but it’s about time some of the experts were brought to book, or at least exposed through a media outlet! But I won’t predict that either.
But maybe some regular readers could contribute their own examples. Or we could build a pundit database and then check them out over time, providing them with a rating. Anyone want to volunteer to do the coding?

Posted by Graham at 10:37 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Media


  1. Tim Flannery predicted about a year ago that it would never rain again in Perth and that the city would ‘collapse’ (to quote your friend Diamond)from water shortages. But I reckon we can put him down as an expert who got this prediction wrong. I gather it has rained lots and lots over recent months in SW WA. And since the Flannery prediction they now have a desal plant in the pipe-line. Hang-on, the desal plant is coming, but not in the pipe-line that is not coming.

    Comment by Jennifer — June 15, 2005 @ 11:41 am

  2. The question now is Wack Jacko, or Waco Jaco?

    Comment by Benno — June 15, 2005 @ 12:02 pm

  3. As for some punditing, either John Howard retires as leader mid year or he takes the safe seat of Mitchell kindly vacated by Alan Cadman.
    They are the only two rational options for Johnny boy and I hereby predict he will do one of the two as he would be stupid to do both.

    Comment by Benno — June 15, 2005 @ 12:04 pm

  4. Nothing is certain of course, but I am beginning to think that Peter Costello will never be Prime Minister of this country.
    I wouldn’t put money on it though. 🙂

    Comment by Guy — June 16, 2005 @ 10:36 am

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