I am reminded of a bit Norm MacDonald did as Larry King on SNL;
Between taking Tylenol tablets and taking Tylenol gel caps, I'll take Tylenol gel caps anytime.
To make that relevant to this discussion;
Between being completely wrong on national television and being completely right on national television I'll take being completely right on national television anytime.
No one says anything on the air or in print with the hopes of being wrong. At a very basic level every market participant, ranging from total Homer to legendary guru, will get some portion of opinions right and some portion wrong. If you get the bigger decisions right or are right a little more often than you are wrong you will probably have a good long term result. Ending up with a good long term result will not preclude you or anyone else from being wrong about certain things maybe very loudly wrong.
I imagine that most people go on TV, get interviewed in print or write a lot of market related content are looking to help their business by becoming a "quotable source" as a friend of mine who is a marketing consultant would say. The first thing I ever got published was a short writeup in Barron's and after that I wrote some articles for the Motley Fool (the Fool was absolutely dreadful to work with). The motivation was not to develop a readership, I thought that was unrealistic, but to have a couple of published pieces where hopefully I was right about something that I could use to show prospective clients.
The way things evolved I realized I had a chance to help people, more people than I could ever manage money for, become a little more knowledgeable about the subject. Perhaps I am naive but I would assume most non-hucksters have both business and altruistic reasons for media appearances and writing. Maybe you disagree with altruism as a motivation but I think it would be difficult to disagree with the business aspect of this so to that extent no one tries to be wrong.
So if most pundits have a combination of good and bad calls, what the end user should do with any of this be it on TV or in print? If you can see your way to agree that the vast majority of pundits are not wrong 100% of the time then perhaps you are left trying to figure out whether the person you are listening to or reading is correct today or incorrect.
Instead of that though I submit it would be better to listen to what someone says and then decide whether you agree with them or not and why or not. For example with my blog posts early on in the bear market. Before it "officially" started I thought it would be a normal bear market down about 30% which would have meant a low somewhere near 1095. Upon reading my logic along with info from other people some readers left comments saying that there would be no bear market and why they thought so and other readers left comments saying it would be a lot worse than a normal bear and why. This was a productive dialogue that covered a lot of ground and I think someone could have taken all of the opinions to draw their own conclusion about what might happen.
Then later on I was pretty consistent in thinking that the market would not spend a lot of time below the November low and I said why. Again there were comments agreeing and disagreeing with vary degrees of emotion and logic for you to take it all in and decide for yourself what you thought. FWIW I count ten days from late Feb to early March that the S&P 500 spent below the November low.
To the point about participants being right and wrong along the way I'd say I was generally right about the bear coming, certainly wrong about the magnitude and right (for now) about how low it would actually go (or more correctly not go).
If you look at most people's work you will (repeated for emphasis) see some correct calls and some incorrect calls. Instead of blaming a pundit or praising him take his process, along with process from other people and create your own process and draw your own conclusions. Just remember that you drawing your own conclusions will have a combo of good and bad calls just like anyone else.
Part II will be this weekend's video post.