Pharos-Tribune

Columns

April 8, 2014

VILLAGE IDIOT: Hype hype hooray, the story won't go away

(Continued)

And I can say that with authority because I know nothing about airplanes and little about television news. I don’t even understand how planes stay up in the air. It doesn’t make any sense. When you see how much the plane weighs, and then you see all those people get on with their carry-on luggage that weighs as much they do and then you look at the giant ball of cholesterol sitting next to you — you have to think to yourself, “There is no way that this thing is ever even going to leave the ground.”

Which is why I wonder that I haven’t been asked to be on TV and talk about Malaysian Flight 370. As I am eminently unqualified to address the matter, I wonder why my phone isn’t ringing off the hook with offers to spout the first thing that comes into my brain about it, the way most TV guests do.

This would be another thing that TV gets away with that newspapers can’t: fake experts. On TV, they don’t even say their guests are experts — after all, why would this guy be on TV if he wasn’t an expert? He’s with the Policy Center for the Future, or the Association of Associated Associates, what more do you want?

One day I was watching one of the financial channels, trying to figure out where I would lose money next, and Warren Buffett — the most successful stock picker in the world — was the guest. Few people know more about investing than Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, and he generously shared his time and advice with the public. Their very next guest was a guy that owns a pawn shop in Las Vegas that is featured on reality TV. They gave him equal time with Buffett. The pawn shop fellow is a fun guy and an expert on running a pawn shop, and I can’t blame him for being on — it’s good publicity — but exactly what bit of wisdom were investors to take away from his appearance?

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