Journalism is funny1.

The last couple of days I have seen headlines such as “HONY Just Destroyed Donald Trump’s Dream Of Becoming President” and “Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk just killed the petrol car”. Now, maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s the case that Trump can’t win and that petrol cars are now doomed. But as any scientifically minded person would be, I’m angry that media outlets just make shitty predictions which can be regurgiated, and they may have no basis. And somehow, I feel I’ve just stopped paying attention to these claims. Media has always loved making extravagant claims. And in the Internet age, even more journalists can make even more dubious claims even faster. It’s shit I say. Shit.

The whole scam works because no one remembers. So let’s remember, shall we?

I propose a simple tracking tool, that we could target on the largest media outlets. If The Wall Street Journal makes a claim about the potentail consequences of a referendum in Holland (random example), we can register that instead of forgetting. Take them up on their claim at some reasonable point in the future.

This would be a good idea for a website, together with a browser plugin. Found some dubious claim that you don’t think will hold up? Register it, set a date in the future (could be years from now) on which you, and the community, will be reminded. Input an email to the contacts at the paper, and write them a note. On the expiration date, you would get reminded, and the note would be sent to the media outlet, letting them know that perhaps, today would be a good day to check if they were right in their claims on the future.

Maybe keep score? How about that? Maybe we could start ranking journalists and outlet on their level of “clairvoyance” (which I believe would be tend toward 0 as enough claims are made and followed up).

Getting personal

I would love to have this tool for myself. To keep track of people’s predictions – and my own for that matter. A simple tool (that is not in my calender) that reminds me whenever somthing I have claimed is available to check. It might be election results, predictions on my friends careers, or why not my own beliefs on what effect certain big decision will have, as the famous article “Managing Oneself” by Peter Drucker suggests.

A bit more of accountability would help us all to be better, think harder and make smarter decisions.

  1. Hahahaha super funny but no. Not funny.