View Full Version : How Government Looks at Pundits

01-24-2009, 04:26 AM
After reading several of the more recent, active threads on this board and on the blog, this op-ed by Eliot Cohen in today's Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123267054604308313.html) really stuck out. Cohen gives advice to pundits on how best to write commentary that will influence policy makers. For those board contributors who are recently published or soon-to-be, this is good food for thought.

What, then, is a pundit to do? The best commentary has an impact, less because it offers new ideas (most ideas have been considered, however incompletely, on the inside) than because it clarifies problems or solutions that the insiders have only vaguely or incompletely considered. A tight, well-written, and carefully reasoned examination of a policy problem will bring into focus an issue that the officials have not had the time, or often the literary skill, to capture precisely. That kind of analysis is very much worth reading.

Do not prescribe a policy that the current group of officials cannot hope to implement because of who they are. I have had highly intelligent individuals -- including some with senior government experience -- sit in my office and lay out perfectly plausible policies that the current team, limited by time remaining in office, the pressure of competing and more urgent crises, and the all important mix of personalities, could never hope to put into effect.Full article online: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123267054604308313.html