Smoke, Mirrors and One Bearded Lady
It is a great irony that in this age of ubiquitous – and powerful – information technology, that finding accurate sources of information remains such a challenge. I am, of course, including social media as an information source.
The ability to expose to the world, in real-time, the abuse of human-rights – usually by overreaching governments – is a wonderful thing for mankind. At the same time, however, this has led to the idea that everybody’s opinion is authoritative or important regardless of their expertise on the matter.
I can’t figure out if people: 1) don’t care about the background and authority of the person reporting on the issue or 2) automatically grant expertise/credibility to the reporter simply because they’re on the screen and therefore assume they must be an expert on the particular subject. I would challenge you, dear reader, to take the time to research the backgrounds of the hosts/reporters of your favorite news programs. It’s a fairly easy exercise as long as you have a decent internet connection. For the record, on multiple occasions I’ve done what I just suggested and I always come away shaking my head like I just left the county fair. I think about, predominantly, financial news networks like Bloomberg, CNBC and a few other outlets.
In my opinion, never before in my lifetime, has it been so important to try and discern the integrity of the information one is consuming. Experience has taught me that hardly anything is one-sided. That is to say, most things are a combination of pros and cons which can lead to a “pick your poison” type of decision tree. It occurs to me that people do, in fact, engage in this level of “due diligence” regarding their healthcare (think second opinions on surgery). I couldn’t imagine standing up in front of a group of brain surgeons and pretending to lecture them on the complexities of gluing synapses back together. I wouldn’t make it 3 ½ seconds amongst the medical professionals I know, before being called out as a fraud. These medical acquaintances of mine may be more rabid than the norm but regarding this hypothetical they’d obviously be spot on.
I’d advise applying this level of scrutiny to all of your news content – most especially in the financial arena.