News outlets' response to the debacle over their use of photos from freelancers with potential ties to Hamas highlights a pervasive problem.
I’m reminded of an incident many years ago when my husband and I were working on his car trying to get a belt off. I have a Master’s in Engineering and my husband was working on his Ph.D in physics. We were trying to figure out how to get this stubborn belt off when our neighbor wandered up, he worked on an oil rig as a mechanic and happened to be home. He watched us for a couple of minutes and then said, “well, why don’t you just cut it off?”. I said, “Because we’re idiots.”. I never forgot that moment, especially when I’m tempted to think I’m the expert! Good article!
I watched the longer version of the IQ video. The Yale graduate and the Marine had the same IQ test score (131).
But there were clues to their respective backgrounds that make this result impressive. The Yale graduate was uninterested in going to college; her parents insisted, so she applied to *one* college. She says she was surprised she got into Yale but would her parents have capitulated if her admission was impossible? I’m speculating, but I’m pretty sure she went to private schools and got any tutoring she needed, especially for doing well on SAT/ACT tests. (This video predates college waivers of test scores).
The Marine went straight to boot camp after graduating high school. That’s consistent with a bright kid who probably went to a decent high school but didn’t have the financial means to pay for college outright. He decided to opt into military service now and subsidised college later. However, it’s unlikely he had extensive test prep or private schools who “taught” him how to maximise test scores.
How is this relevant to news organisations? Matt Taibbi often tells how his dad was in journalism at a time when most reporters were working class, like the Marine. They often started at local papers, then progressed to major cities. The most talented ended up at NYT, etc, after a lifetime of rubbing shoulders with ordinary people. Today, most journalists at NYT have backgrounds similar to the Yale graduate. Somehow we bought into the idea that the upper classes were in a better position to evaluate information. And here we are.
Fantastic piece ⭐️
I could not be more disappointed with the AP. Their manipulation is now just front and center -- justifying embedding journalists in terrorist groups! Are terrorists and the military just one and the same now?
P.S. Whenever I hear someone described as an expert, I can't help but think about Chris Arnade's book Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America. The front row experts you reference in this article, don't seem to be doing a bang-up job.
As always, well researched, well written and a great read. Thanks.
Outstandiong as always. Thank you.
Aesop's Fables is such a good guide to these times. Many of the fables tell how arrogance is overturned by events. For example, there's this, about "experts":
The Three Tradesmen
A GREAT CITY was besieged, and its inhabitants were called together to consider the best means of protecting it from the enemy. A Bricklayer earnestly recommended bricks as affording the best material for an effective resistance. A Carpenter, with equal enthusiasm, proposed timber as a preferable method of defense. Upon which a Currier stood up and said, "Sirs, I differ from you altogether: there is no material for resistance equal to a covering of hides; and nothing so good as leather."