Friday, May 1, 2020

Quickies: Concerning Experts, Authorities, And Journalists

     There’s a reason why journalists should always keep their distance from priesthoods in any field. It’s particularly in the nature of insular communities of subject matter experts to coalesce around orthodoxies that blind the very people in the loop who should be the most knowledgeable.

     “Experts” get things wrong for reasons that are innocent (they’ve all been taught the same incorrect thing in school) and less so (they have a financial or professional interest in denying the truth)….

     “Authorities” by their nature are untrustworthy. Sometimes they have an interest in denying truths, and sometimes they actually try to define truth as being whatever they say it is. “Elevating authoritative content” over independent or less well-known sources is an algorithmic take on the journalistic obsession with credentialing that has been slowly destroying our business for decades.

     [Matt Taibbi]

     Have I bruised your ears sufficiently about “Anything Authorities?” Good. Because “One Thing Authorities” can be just as bad – and often are. Remember the immortal words of Robert A. Heinlein:

     Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.

     Verbum sat sapienti.

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