Bizarre Experts Are No Accident
Recently Fox “News” had a televised disaster, a terrorism expert whose knowledge and expertise were laughable. But this cannot be a surprise to those of us who pay attention to the content of cable news.
(At the bottom of the page is a piece from Addicting Info in which a capable journalist discusses the problem.)
In the far off past of the 1960’s, television news lost money. It was supposed to. The news was a return to the public by the networks in return for the use of the airwaves. It was required and expected by the law creating the FCC and part of the administrative rules of the agency.
How times have changed.
The networks were released from these responsibilities to provide a public service. This was in the name of the free market. Because we all know that only when business is freed from regulation and responsibility to the public can real benefits be expected. After all businesses are self-regulating. They will not act against the public interest – Didn’t you read Milton Friedman?
And what benefits we have reaped! Now we have the opportunity to watch “news” programs where facts, reasoning and any semblance of respect for reality are expendable.
So what’s surprising about experts on terrorism who couldn’t cross the street without a map and a boy scout? People who have no concept what they’re talking about are often far more interesting (provocative?) than real experts. After all, you go to college for years and then work in a field for more years, write scholarly papers in an almost inscrutable form of scholarly and bureaucratic English, you tend to be wordy and cautious. This is boring. Since news must turn over the big bucks – (boredom kills profits.) We gotta’ have action. That means extreme statements, and they have to be loud and certain – because that generates ratings.
And if your network has an ideological basis, any real expert is verboten. We’re not just selling news, we’re selling ideology – a one-two punch of certainty for a specific demographic.
So, by converting to a free market formula for news and giving up any responsibility to the public, we have the opportunity for a representative democracy in which a majority of the population believe nonsense, in which science is ridiculed, conspiracy theories treated as legitimate news and demogogary elevated to an art form.
This is bad business ethics.
James Alan Pilant
Addicting Info – Watch This Journalist’s Brilliant Take Down Of Cable News Experts (VIDEO)
During an interview, Scahill told CNN’s Hala Gorani:
“CNN and MSNBC and Fox are engaging in the terrorism expert-industrial complex, where you have people on as paid analysts that are largely frauds who have made a lot of money off of portraying themselves as terror experts and have no actual on-the-ground experience. … Some of your paid analysts, that you have on this network or other networks, basically are just making money off of the claim that they’re experts on terrorism and really don’t have the scholarly background or on-the-ground experience to justify being on your network or any other network.”