Washington Post/Newsweek economics columnist Robert Samuelson was recently out plugging his new book at an event recorded by C-SPAN. Samuelson began his remarks (watch the video here, at the 4:20 mark) by saying:
I am not an economist. I'm a journalist. And so that anything I say that seems contradictory to what a freshman in college would learn in your basic Principles of Economics course, I should be absolved of any sin for that, because as I say I am not a card-carrying member of the fraternity.
No one is asking Samuelson to be an economist. But it sounds like what he's saying is that not being one frees him to write about things like trade, inequality or Social Security without the burden of knowing much about the issues.
Samuelson is one of the few mainstream pundits who still doubts the science on climate change. The problem there isn't that he's not a climate scientist, but that he doesn't believe they know what they're talking about.