Data: ukip didn’t do great; Labour did Ok; Coalition did badly. Punditry: UKIP UKIP UKIP FARAGE FARAGE NIGEL GRINNING NEXT TO TWO MEN IN POLO SHIRTS UKIP UKIP DISASTER FOR FLAILING MILIBAND LABOUR DESTROYED UKIP UKIP UKIP NIGEL NIGEL UKIP NIGEL NIGEL WITH A PINT AND A FAG NIGEL GRINNING NIGEL HAPPY NIGEL WIN NIGEL WELL DONE NIGEL.
Data: England will probably get through the group stages in the World Cup; beat probably Ivory Coast in round of 32; lose to Spain in the quarters. Punditry: SUAREZ SUAREZ BALOTELLI I’VE HEARD OF THEM SUAREZ BALOTELLI HODGSON BALOTELLI SUAREZ SUAREZ SUAREZ SUAREZ HODGSON.
Punditry and data don’t really talk to each other enough. I don’t know if they should, but they don’t. As someone with a passing interest in both I’d like a bit of both. But I seem to read a lot more punditry than I do data. Punditry seems louder and seems to be given more volume, more importance, more predominance. Journalists interview pundits – usually other journalists – first, then might ask statisticians afterwards. But punditry is LOUD. It’s uncomplicated. It’s one big story at a time. It’s “a good tale” and “the strong line”.
Of course my view of punditry is just the sort of unanalytical punditry I’m complaining about. I’m using the very techniques I’m decrying to make a point and being far too simplistic about it. But that’s all I’ve got. I’m just one person with a phone. I’m not a major news organisation and I don’t have the resources to do anything else. But… But shouldn’t they have the ambition to do better…? No…?