You know people like that. They have just a tiny bit of information and suddenly believe they are possessed of all the facts, data and input and can render flawless judgment and opinions.
For those lucky enough to mature, this ability to know everything by knowing only a little does wane. As we age, we realize how little we actually know and refrain from spouting off until we get far more information to assimilate.
Some folks never manage to mature and so never learn how little they actually know.
"As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." Socrates.
To explain - we in the journalism biz, especially those of us who work general and generic beats, are expected to know about everything. Literally. Never mind that's unfair, it is what is expected. You can switch the word journalist for generalist and pretty much mean the same thing.
|Do yer part, eh?|
It infuriates me.
I've also done the same thing, which drives me even further around the bend. GAAAAAAAH!
Journalists take a little information and expand it into a universe-worth of knowledge, getting it wrong in the process.
I'm used to being a pariah.
Yeah, I again admit to taking an inch worth knowledge and stretching it to cover a football field, with the results I complain about herein.
Sparking my particular ire today is young journalists (duh!) who are liberal (duh!) and gun control believers (duh!). Invariably when discussing firearms they refer to "high power" guns and most recently a journalist referred to an AK-47 as a "large gun."
|AK47 in several configurations.|
Cause this is my rant, I'm gonna 'splain even if you don't wanna know. The AK-47 is a light-medium rifle. It's not a tremendously accurate rifle, of middlin' potency and only medium range. What it does have is extreme reliability under harsh conditions, ability to sling a fair, not a lot but a fair, amount of lead in a given direction in short order and simplicity of construction.
It's also 'bout the most common military-style rifle on the planet owing to the fact so many countries have made and continue to make it.
It is decidedly NOT high power NOR is it large. It is a middlin' to fair deer rifle, but not a gun to hunt moose, elk or large bear.
To give you a more concrete example, some time back I spoke to a group of journalists. I produced two rounds of ammunition, a .22 long rifle and a .50 BMG 750 grain FMJ.
|.50 BMG at left, AK-47 round, 4th from left and .22 Long Rifle far right|
I asked them to decide which bullet is implicated in the most murders in the United States. The lowly .22 round holds that record by a long shot. The .50 BMG has never been used in a murder in the United States and has been implicated in one and only one criminal offense and that was one of negligence, not malice.
I ask you, looking at these rifle rounds, which one is high power?
Journalists with no experience in handling firearms just attach whatever adjective they feel is most appropriate to their report on a firearm. Reality has nothing to do with it. Such statements calling the AK47 "high power" and a "large gun" only add to the problems legitimate gun owners have.
|I calls 'em like I sees 'em.|
The real hell of it is, as journalists we're not really supposed to be experts. We are supposed to find an expert, ask him and report what he says. Our expertise is supposed to be knowing who to ask.
When we, as journalists, start substituting ourselves in the place of real experts the world gets heaping servings of talking heads with cable TV shows who are more interested in slinging insults at the opposition than engaging in an intelligent and rational debate.
When that happens, civil discourse goes the way of the dodo, the woolly mammoth and politicians interested in serving the people rather than serving themselves and the people who fund their campaigns.
The other more insidious problem is people are given wrong information, factually incorrect, which they accept as the truth. This is worse than not knowing at all.
If there is no knowledge, then it is a blank slate ready to accept whatever is laid down. An easy move.
When the wrong information is in place, it must first be removed which can be a complicated procedure and is often hard to do, sometimes impossible. Then, new information must be put in place.
Brain surgery, physical brain surgery that is, can be much easier to do. You don't have to believe. If you don't believe me, try to reason with a zealot of any stripe. Then come back and tell me which is easier.