Saturday, March 06, 2010


Journalists, generally, are Arts graduates. Most of the time they have little or no education in the topic being discussed (unless it's history, politics or the arts etc). But, back in the pre-internet, pre-24 hour rolling insta-news days, newspapers and their hacks could take the time to investigate, research, analyse and explain the events of the day.

Now, however, we have journalism via Google and, worse, the journalism of relativism. The journalists that don't just quote press releases nevertheless just form ill-informed opinions, then search the internet for any evidence that legitimises those opinions. Worse, every story has to have two sides, there's no right and wrong, just opinions and 'experts' are always 'divided'; no one person's opinion being more or less valid than anyone else's.

Genuine experts are ridiculed or unfairly tarred with brushes. Doctors and scientists with years or decades of learning and research are placed on the same pedestal as a listener to the Joe Duffy show who *knows* that coffee enemas cured her cancer. People who use their learning to explain nuanced argument to the masses are routinely accused of arrogance, or, worse, having a vested interest. Your departed food correspondent Tom Doorley once blogged against GM food, then stated that he wouldn't entertain any comments from scientists because, ipso facto, they would be vested interests! But opinions from people who think genes are garments you wear were fine!

People form opinions then type them into Google to find validation, regardless of the source or quality of the evidence they have just found - anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, alternative medicine believers, anti windmill NIMBYs... One of the comments above states that Economists didn't see this crash coming. Nonsense, most did. It's just that no one wanted to listen to them and those that could shout loudest managed to drown the genuine experts out with their 'talking down the economy' rubbish.

We now live in the ridiculous world where the people who are more effective at getting their message across, i.e. those who shout the loudest, set the agenda. And that is what happened with our property boom. And that is why we will always be destined to repeat our mistakes because not only has Joe Public completely lost respect for people of (learned) authority he now only respects celebrity voices who are themselves too stupid to know the difference between fame and authority.
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