Saturday, March 27, 2004

What Would We Do Without Experts?

Lately I've been seeing a lot of references to "some experts" in my local (left-leaning) daily newspaper. Today I saw a similar reference in the lede of an online New York Times article ("Where Does the Buck Stop? Not Here"):

Accepting responsibility is an essential part of everyday life, something every parent and child, every boss and worker, every friend and colleague wrestle with, or know they should. But for a president it is quite rare, and at least in the view of some historians and government experts, getting rarer, as a national culture of shifting blame permeates American politics.

The article, of course, goes on to berate President Bush for failing to accept responsibility for 9/11 in the same theatrically obsequious manner as did former "anti-terrorism czar" Dick Clarke. (Clinton is ripped, as well, but he's not running for re-election, is he?) Two "experts" are cited by name: David (a man for all administrations) Gergen and Michael Beschloss (the groupies' historian). I guess two experts equals "some experts."

So it seems that the NYT and its ilk on the left have found a new, cheap, journalistic trick. Quote a few pseudo-experts who have an opinion on a subject -- an opinion that conforms to the paper's opinion, of course -- and refer to them as "some experts" in the headline or lede of a slanted story. And don't bother to cite anyone with an opposing opinion. They don't report, they decide.