How ‘Experts’ Are Used in News

The Sun Norway's 9/11Charlie Brooker’s take on how news ‘experts’ are doing little more than guessing, which is more or less what we could do, in the Guardian:

I went to bed in a terrible world and awoke inside a worse one. At the time of writing, details of the Norwegian atrocity are still emerging, although the identity of the perpetrator has now been confirmed and his motivation seems increasingly clear: a far-right anti-Muslim extremist who despised the ruling party.

Presumably he wanted to make a name for himself, which is why I won’t identify him. His name deserves to be forgotten. Discarded. Deleted. Labels like “madman”, “monster”, or “maniac” won’t do, either. There’s a perverse glorification in terms like that. If the media’s going to call him anything, it should call him pathetic; a nothing.

On Friday night’s news, they were calling him something else. He was a suspected terror cell with probable links to al-Qaida …

Read more here and those of you who like a bit of Brooker should check out his shows, Screenwipe and Newswipe.

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  • Anonymous

    Why does this article spend so much time analyzing the assumption that the attack was an Islamic one as if they jumped the gun? It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption considering not only did Islamic terrorists work and plan to commit a bombing similar to this one a year ago ( http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/29/world/main6816164.shtml ) but an Islamic terrorist group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, even claimed responsibility as it was happening! They were excited about the incident and threatening Norway with more for it’s “crimes” (throwing out the article’s dismissal of the idea that Muslims have any issue with Norway).

    People are shocked because after over a decade of Islamic terror, we’ve grown used to it, but when a white guy goes out and does something like this for some crazy purpose, I can’t even think of any comparable incident since the Unabomber 16 years ago.

  • SF2K01

    Why does this article spend so much time analyzing the assumption that the attack was an Islamic one as if they jumped the gun? It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption considering not only did Islamic terrorists work and plan to commit a bombing similar to this one a year ago ( http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/29/world/main6816164.shtml ) but an Islamic terrorist group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, even claimed responsibility as it was happening! They were excited about the incident and threatening Norway with more for it’s “crimes” (throwing out the article’s dismissal of the idea that Muslims have any issue with Norway).

    People are shocked because after over a decade of Islamic terror, we’ve grown used to it, but when a white guy goes out and does something like this for some crazy purpose, I can’t even think of any comparable incident since the Unabomber 16 years ago.

    • Hadrian999

      because stuff like this is why people don’t trust the news like they used to, the news stopped being a respectable service and started peddling bullshit speculation,ideologically slanted rumors and out write propaganda.  people should demand accuracy in reporting and ethics and professionalism from all branches of journalism.

    • quartz99

      Well, there was Oklahoma City. And the guy who flew his plane into the IRS building in Texas. Or the two men who tried to blow up a bridge in New York. Or the Eastern Europeans who are still fighting against Russia and shoot up schools. Or Boyd, the white muslim extremist arrested for training a white cell for militant jihad in one of the Carolinas (North I think but I don’t recall) Or the Olympic bombing in Atlanta or…

      The real difference is that when it’s a white guy (or guys), suddenly it’s not a terrorist attack any more. He’s just got “some crazy purpose.” Because apparently only slightly brown people can commit terrorist acts and we should always jump to assume it’s Muslims.

      edit to add, here are a number more, most of them people I hadn’t heard of: http://phoenixwoman.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/its-not-terrorism-if-a-white-guy-does-it/

  • Hadrian999

    because stuff like this is why people don’t trust the news like they used to, the news stopped being a respectable service and started peddling bullshit speculation,ideologically slanted rumors and out write propaganda.  people should demand accuracy in reporting and ethics and professionalism from all branches of journalism.

  • Anonymous

    Well, there was Oklahoma City. And the guy who flew his plane into the IRS building in Texas. Or the two men who tried to blow up a bridge in New York. Or the Eastern Europeans who are still fighting against Russia and shoot up schools. Or the Olympic bombing in Atlanta or…

    The real difference is that when it’s a white guy (or guys), suddenly it’s not a terrorist attack any more. He’s just got “some crazy purpose.” Because apparently only slightly brown people can commit terrorist acts and we should always jump to assume it’s Muslims.

  • ExpertWitness

    Experts say that a lot of different people think a lot of different things about a lot of different stuff.

  • ExpertWitness

    Experts say that a lot of different people think a lot of different things about a lot of different stuff.