Monday, March 13, 2017

A Liberal Media Bubble

From FiveThirtyEight:
So did journalists in Washington and London make the apocryphal Pauline Kael mistake, refusing to believe that Trump or Brexit could win because nobody they knew was voting for them? That’s not quite what Trende was arguing. Instead, it’s that political experts4 aren’t a very diverse group and tend to place a lot of faith in the opinions of other experts and other members of the political establishment. Once a consensus view is established, it tends to reinforce itself until and unless there’s very compelling evidence for the contrary position. Social media, especially Twitter, can amplify the groupthink further. It can be an echo chamber.

I recently reread James Surowiecki’s book “The Wisdom of Crowds” which, despite its name, spends as much time contemplating the shortcomings of such wisdom as it does celebrating its successes. Surowiecki argues5 that crowds usually make good predictions when they satisfy these four conditions:
  1. Diversity of opinion. “Each person should have private information, even if it’s just an eccentric interpretation of the known facts.”
  2. Independence. “People’s opinions are not determined by the opinions of those around them.”
  3. Decentralization. “People are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge.”
  4. Aggregation. “Some mechanism exists for turning private judgments into a collective decision.”
Political journalism scores highly on the fourth condition, aggregation. While Surowiecki usually has something like a financial or betting market in mind when he refers to “aggregation,” the broader idea is that there’s some way for individuals to exchange their opinions instead of keeping them to themselves. And my gosh, do political journalists have a lot of ways to share their opinions with one another, whether through their columns, at major events such as the political conventions or, especially, through Twitter. But those other three conditions? Political journalism fails miserably along those dimensions. (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

The electorate who voted for Trump's presidency knew how they wanted this country to go and were intent on reining in the path toward a genderless/borderless society. Trumped tapped into that. The 'Liberal/Progressive' elite did and do not even consider how the mid-section of this country's electorate think, and do not care, because they believe the rest of us are mindless zombies plodding along incapable of forming independent thought. They are so entrenched in this way of thinking that it is inconceivable to them that Donald J. Trump is sitting in the White House plowing through their ideology and giving consideration to what the ordinary American