Know Before You Vote- What Makes An Expert, an "Expert?"

Know Before You Vote- What Makes An Expert, an "Expert?"

If you haven’t been near a TV, then you haven’t seen the growing number of political ads and experts cluttering the air waves with their opinions.

We are headed into the “election hurricane” and before you get sucked in, we wanted to share a few tips on how to watch the many TV news shows and better understand what you are watching.

There are literally dozens of news type programs that split their time between cable and the big networks, each one of these programs is responsible for filling hours of content each and every day.

As things heat up, they are battling it out to get experts on the air to  comment about everything from health care to the pleats in President Obamas pants.  The problem is, that as we get closer to the big day, the true experts time starts to become less and less, which means news producers are forced to settle for plan B-C-L-T and so on.

Traditionally a news organization will have “go to” experts.  Sometimes they are not available and the scramble begins.  If you have worked in a newsroom, then you have heard someone yell “does anyone know an expert on _______fill in the blank, I need one for tonight at 6:00!!!”

This is where things start to get diluted.  You can quickly go from Choice #1- The head of the oncology unit at Hopkins, to choice #2- a blogger who writes about his/her experience with skin cancer.

Experienced, but not an expert.

Not really the fault of anyone, but time marching on, the demand for content and the fact that the news goes on, ready or not.  It’s what keep producers up at night, twitching.  They have to fill that 22 minute hole.

In August, right before the Lifetime Chicago Marathon, Fox’s Good Day Chicago had on former Chicagonow blogger Phil Castello to talk about gear you need for the Chicago Triathlon, something I have done myself.

Phil, like myself reached out to many brands, to feature on the air, in exchange, he was hooked up with some pretty sweet gear.  It is also great exposure for his blog.  Not faulting anyone for trying to load up their tri-closet and get ahead. Felt gave him two bikes, TYR gave him a $1500 wet suit and Newton hooked him up with running shoes.  Nice!

Here’s where things go South.  They introduced Phil as a “Triathlon expert.”  At the time, Phil had competed about 6 triathlons in two years, with some pretty lack luster times.  Hardly an expert.

Things got worse, when Phil starts to “recommend” gear, as an expert.  If you have piloted the Space Shuttle 6 times to the International Space Station, you are an expert.  6 triathlons, not so much.

Phil’s little story, got picked up by other Fox affiliates and went national.  He was set up on a national stage as an expert, that people should take advice from.

A triathlon blogger to the presidential elections not exactly apples to apples, but you get the idea.  Just ask mental questions, do a Google search or two and know who is selling you what.

When you are watching the news, a talk show or listening to the radio and an “expert” comes on, if they are making an impact, take a second to find out who they are, and what they stand for.  It may be something that is completely valid or a “plant” for one side or the other, doing their best to pound a point home.

Democrat or republican, if you are going to cast a vote, make sure you are informed and understand exactly who is giving you your information.


Leave a comment
  • Well this just seems to be a sad yank.

    I followed your advice and Googled Phil Castello. What I found was this -

    What is disguised as a blog to inform people about election coverage turns out to be nothing more than harming someones image over an error a title.

    Wh not fault FOX for not spelling the guys name right?

    You should probably find a hobby Dave TV.

  • Eddie

    If we are going to have all of Phil's cronies clutter the comment section, let me know. I'll make a special section for you guys.
    Thanks for reading.

Leave a comment