Real jeopardy

From the Onion:


Dr. Gary Canton, a professor of applied nuclear physics and energy-development technologies at MIT and a leading expert in American nuclear-power applications, was rejected by MSNBC producers for being “too boring for TV” Monday….

MSNBC chose Skip Hammond, former Arizona State football player, MBA holder, and author of Imprison The Sun: America’s Coming Nuclear-Power Holocaust. Hammond is best known for his “atomic domino” theory of chained power-plant explosions and his signature lavender silk tie.

“Absolute Armageddon,” Hammond said when asked about the dangers increased reliance on nuclear power might pose. “Atoms are not only too tiny to be seen, they’re too powerful to be predicted. Three Mile Island? Remember it? I do. Don’t they?”

“Clouds of radiation, glowing rivers, a hole reaching to the earth’s core—that’s what we’re facing, ” Hammond continued. “Death of one in four Americans! Count off, everyone: one, two, three, you. Millions of people gone. And no one’s even mentioned terrorism yet. You have to wonder why not.”

It is always important to keep in mind that the vast majority of anchors and commentators don’t know a damn thing about almost anything except selling themselves. Thus, they honestly have no ability to distinguish between a genuine expert and someone who’s blathering on in ignorance. Consider the seemingly diametrically opposed pair of Michelle Malkin and Maureen Dowd. The former studied English at Oberlin College, the latter has a degree in English from Catholic University. No wonder neither one of them knows anything about military or political history.

The TV commentariat in particular is filled with third-rate minds from fourth-rate universities who studied nothing but English and journalism. Most of them don’t even speak a second language much less have any detailed knowledge of a serious liberal arts, technical or engineering field. They have refined their ability to communicate, to be sure, but they have little meaningful to say. In high school and college, I dated a girl who was on the journalist track; she was pretty and possessed an intelligence above average, but she was utterly uninterested in anything genuinely intellectual. She never made it above the bottom tier – as a political reporter for a minor newspaper – and ended up going back and getting a law degree, but I have recognized her attitude in many male and female journalists I’ve encountered since, from NPR to the Star and Sickle.

The problem is that while they may not know much, they are adept at using their connections and verbal skills to make it appear as if they do. The easy way to expose them, of course, is to ask them simple but specific questions, like “how many aircraft carriers did the US Navy possess in 1942” or “how do you compute GDP?” Actually, you probably could stump most commentators outside of Thomas Sowell and Paul Krugman by simply asking “what does GDP stand for?” They will desperately seek to avoid being forced to answer such questions because they can’t and their failure will expose them as the frauds that most of them are.

I’d like to see a celebrity Jeopardy dedicated to newspaper and cable news commentators one day. It would be interesting to see if their performance would be closer to the normal contestants or the actors and rock stars.