le mot unjuste

I’ve written before about the dual and mutually reinforcing social problems of (a) stupid resistance to expertise and (b) dubious claims of expertise. Here’s the New York Times making the situation worse: 

“Some experts” is as bad a phrase as you could employ in this context. Such shorthand might be defensible in a tweet, but if you follow the link in the tweet and read the article you see the same usage. It’s sheer laziness. Who are these experts? What are they experts in? (Further laziness: one of the links in the article goes to yet another tweet, this one by the Washington Military Department and its Emergency Management Division. That’s your expert?) 

Saying that some unnamed experts in some unnamed field think Trump is wrong is weak and misleading. Better would be something like this: Our investigations indicate there are no epidemiologists, virologists, or infectious disease doctors in the entire freaking world who think Trump is right about this stuff. The President is talking through his hat and wishing on a star

April 24, 2020

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