Is it getting harder to identify experts? As I write, a few moments ago the prime minister was flanked by two of them and they were flawless in their reasoning for the UK’s stance on combating the coronavirus epidemic. Clear, concise, precise, honest, trustworthy.
But just now, I opened the website of a newspaper that has contacted several other experts, all similarly brilliantly qualified and working in the same sort of field, and they don’t agree with the government’s experts, or each other, on the approach we should take. I mean, they all think you shouldn’t go on a cruise, but I don’t think that’s news to anyone.
Then I opened social media and people definitely didn’t all agree there, so I watched a few car build and cat videos and closed it again.
Once, you’d open a newspaper or turn on the TV or radio and you could be relatively sure that in times of crisis – this probably counts – you’d hear from an expert or two. And that would be that.
But everybody is a publisher these days, and the internet has placed data at everyone’s fingertips so now everyone can be an expert, too. Or, rather, they can adopt a particular position, and then build a case around it, to look like one.