Noticing our nation is stuck in an unwinnable war (or two), we wondered if America hasn’t stumbled off the meritocratic path. More specifically, since political pundits like David Brooks play such a central role in our national decision-making process, maybe something is amiss in the world of punditry. Are the incentives well-aligned? Surely those who warned us not to invade Iraq have been recognized and rewarded, and those who pushed for this disaster face tattered credibility and waning career prospects. Could it be any other way in America?
So we selected the four pundits who were in our judgment the most influentially and disturbingly misguided in their pro-war arguments and the four who were most prescient and forceful in their opposition. (Because conservative pundits generally acted as a well-coordinated bloc, more or less interchangeable, all four of our hawks are moderates or liberals who might have been important opponents of the war?so, sadly, we are not able to revisit Brooks’s eloquent and thoroughly meritless prognostications.)
Then we did a career check … and found that something is rotten in the fourth estate.