Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Post-Truth... Post-Expert??

There was an interesting debate on Radio 4 this morning between Michael Gove and Stephanie Flanders on the role of experts in determining policy, reporting on trends and generally advising on all things.

The problem with so-called "expert opinion" is it's just that: an opinion. However, if that opinion suits a media agenda is is jumped upon and reiterated as fact ad nauseum. Despite a mandate for fairness, the BBC are one of the worst culprits, offering no counter argument to whatever claim they are making.But they are no worse than Sky, Fox, CNN, RT or any other news channel.

Doing this is essentially biased reporting and at worst no better than propaganda.

I've watched TV news since I was a kid and the most startling change in my lifetime is the introduction of news processed as drama and the increase of biased viewpoints. Way back when, news was factual with very little overt bias. Any bias was easily identified by an opposing viewpoint and a reasoned brain filtering the outlandish claims from the facts.

I've already noted the issue with Brexit: because the BBC are biased against Brexit (and I suppose their fat subsidies from the EU) they report everything bad as "because of Brexit" and anything good as "despite Brexit". So much so I see Guido has started a #DespiteBrexit hashtag on his website. So called experts are wheeled in front of cameras and microphones to decry leave voters, to prophesy doom and gloom, to the exclusion of the opposing viewpoint. Well, only to expose people with an opposite viewpoint as loonies, cranks or people not to be taken seriously.

The other problem for "experts" is their dire warnings of doom don't occur. Which is what happens with opinions and theories. They are a viewpoint, they are extrapolations of what MAY happen in the future.

Their opinions and theories have no more weight than any other but are touted as absolute truth..

The same goes for any other. Global warming is gospel according to the BBC, the science is settled, with absolutely no physical evidence. It's all heresay, statistical, with no proven mechanism, no proof that increased CO2 drives global warming, let alone man made CO2 is the main influence. It could be that the globe warming is a totally natural process and the increase of CO2 is driven by the warming rather than the other way round. But no science is being done to prove that hypothesis, there's no money in it. Science is very much made to fit the model. You'll never hear that viewpoint taken seriously on any mainstream media.

The phrase post-truth has emerged this year to describe the rise of populism, the rejection of the elitist version of reality reported to us as absolute truth. It's supposed to be an unhealthy thing. But it's plain that the media and elites are just as bad at offering lies as truth.

Getting back to the point, the problem isn't "experts" per se, it's the media's attempt to process opinion as fact, theories as proof, without opposition. Telling us what we should believe, rather than reporting both sides of the story and allowing us to weigh either side of the argument and divine the truth for ourselves.