Chapter 2 of The Signal and the Noise focuses on why political pundits are so often wrong. When TV channels select for those making crazy predictions, it turns out accuracy rates go way down. You can either get bold, or you can be right, but very rarely can you be both.

SignalNoiseCh2

Basically, networks don’t care about false positives….big predictions that don’t come true. What they do care about is false negatives….possibilities that don’t get raised. They consider the first just understandable bluster, but the second is unforgivable. So next time you wonder why there’s so many stupid opinions on TV, remember that’s a feature not a bug.

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