I'll make just one point. Ernst writes:
It is my contention that the Report is not merely unsound as a ranking system and detrimental to the profession; it is obviously unsound as a ranking system and obviously detrimental to the profession. (p. 1)That's what's bothered me for so long as well. As any reasonably self-aware and self-critical person, it makes me wonder if I'm not just missing something. But then I read a paper like this one (which makes several of the objections I made, years ago, but in much more developed form), and it turns that, no, I'm not.
And I, for one, strongly suspect that the problems Ernst identifies with the Gourmet Report are not disconnected from the problems he identified in a different post with academic culture generally.