Archive | December, 2009

Experts, experts, experts!

29 Dec

Back in the day when news reached us by steamer, horse or pigeon, major news events had a lot of impact. In the global village news travels fast. We can watch wars in real time and listen live to “our correspondent” on the scene and live on cam.

Seemingly every news event is rapidly followed by “expert” comment. I can picture editors and presenters driving their researchers to find someone who knows something about this.

Perhaps, like me, you are naive enough to imagine that an ‘expert’ is someone with a comprehensive knowledge of their subject, perhaps even someone who has actually been there and done that. Pretty hard to believe when you listen to / read the unqualified, often inaccurate tosh that is printed or broadcast on any news day.

Terrorism, the Arab world, Islam, unemployment, the economy – you name it, there’s an expert in it. One could be forgiven for imagining that some learned institution is offering post-graduate courses in ‘Being an Expert’. Why are we so willing to listen to, or worse still, take seriously, these individuals? Look where it gets us: Iraq (wmd experts); global economic collapse (economists & banking experts); mass unemployment (CIPD luminaries); house prices (rising or falling – experts predict both!).

So let’s get real. Ask your granny or gaze at the tea leaves; you would have a better chance of getting a realistic assessment.


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4 Dec

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