Prestige is basically cancer. In an ideal world it wouldn’t exist.
If some thing/entity/institution is good, then it’s good, and there’s reasons its good. And if you’re gonna rely on it in some way (like trust the accuracy of its reporting, or the quality of its scholarship, or whatever) it should be because its actually good in the relevant respects to whatever you’re relying on it for.
Prestige is a kind of institutional social status. Its definitely not based on stuff being good. In fact, there’s frequently an inverse relationship in our society atm between whether something is prestigious and whether its good.
Prestige allows things to be respected despite the fact that they’re bad. It causes people to give horrid institutions (like modern academia) the benefit of the doubt when it is not deserved. And most alarmingly, it allows disagreement to be delegitimized because the source of the disagreement is not sufficiently prestigious.
That’s actually the worst aspect of prestige. It’s a gatekeeper over what ideas get taken seriously and what people get taken seriously. And to get taken seriously in many fields, you have to endure the mind-destroying torture of years of getting the social and intellectual approval of others who will hate you if they find out you have certain ideas. So prestige basically helps establish and perpetuate closed guilds of bad ideas in fields vital for the functioning of society.
For this reason, prestige is a societal weak point. If people are judging stuff according to prestige and not reason, it allows sinister irrational people to capture the prestigious institutions in order to implement their agenda. This is literally what happened to the West and why it’s being destroyed now. The cult of prestige has been a disaster for Western civilization.
Prestige is also the handmaiden of second-handedness. People allow their standards and judgment to be corrupted so they can get approval from prestigious institutions & prestigious people. They choose careers that are more prestigious according to their parents/spouse’s/society’s standards over other stuff.