Merit Badges in Punditry and Blogging

Everyone’s a pundit! Actually, I guess anyone who has a weblog, or “blog”, of some type can be an expert these days. I see them on the news all the time, “Larry Marshall, author of the internet blog ‘Who Cares’, what do you think of this situation?”

“Well, Bob, in my blog I have written…”, the rest can be filled in by imagination.

Some of these bloggers might actually have education or experience relating to the topic, but I find that many do not; certainly not to any degree of expertise. When questioned regarding their expert standing, they invariably seem to respond with, “I have been authoring my blog for over ‘x’ years!”

Perhaps, the Cub Scouts will offer merit badges in punditry and blogging.

However, not all blogs are full of pedantic ego fulfillment. Well, even some that are have their place in the 21st century scramble to “let somebody know something… anything!” Typically, one cannot falter fact. Blogs, podcasts, vodcasts (etc.) that report facts are becoming commonplace and finding importance to a variety of people. Examples of these are the CDC podcasts. Great expert medical information in a convenient podcast package. With this media, however, the more opinion added, the more debated the positions.

In the online community, there are a number of experts who tend to set the stage for a debate or commentary. Then, there are ostensibly a number of anti-experts. These ‘anti-experts’ seem to have the knowledge and skill of the experts, but perhaps, not the education or the standing. What these anti-experts do have is cynicism, altruism and an uncanny ability to think outside of the expertly regarded box. The only thing these dodgers need is a soapbox.

The internet is a great forum for anyone to be heard by anyone who will listen. It can only be imagined, then, that everyone with an internet voice will want to speak. This will certainly provide for an array of views on a single topic and an opportunity for arguments to be raised in defense of certain views. Though this forum allows a debate between experts, anti-experts and laymen, many times the debate falters and the parties lose their ambition to continue providing evidence. This can lead to information that is not truly tried and tested, and though someone may provide a great argument, they could still be dead wrong.

Remember! Not everything you read on the internet is true.

With all of that being said, for reliable truth in journalism, The Onion!