Do we know enough to REALLY know?

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One of the great challenges in this world, is knowing enough about a subject to think you’re right. But NOT enough about the subject…to KNOW you’re wrong.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

This post is nothing really new to most people, just a new rant on it from me…I’m Matthew.

Last week there were a few stories that kept popping up on my screens over and over again. One, in particular, was about Tony Romo’s decline in his broadcasting abilities and how the network (CBS) had to have an intervention to counsel/reprimand him. What followed, what always seems to follow online these days, was “expert” opinions on the veracity of the reports as well as opinions on Romo’s performance and what was wrong with him. There was also the social media dogpile on Romo and how he sucked at his job and/or how all these talking heads were glad they wouldn’t have to suffer through listening to him for the Super Bowl broadcast since the network televising the game would be Fox. This was after his first couple of years in the booth where EVERYONE seemed to love him.

There are two things that bug me about these types of situations when they come about:

  1. The release of “news” that should (or perhaps just in my opinion it should) be confidential.
  2. The dogpile of “experts” who speak of things that they are really not an expert on and related to #1 above they probably shouldn’t be privy to.

1. The release of “news” that should (or perhaps just in my opinion it should) be confidential.

What does it mean when an undisclosed source or insider information is published for public consumption? These days I guess it means that some investigative reporter is doing their job well enough to get info that no one else has been able to acquire. In the past, and in my opinion, it really means that someone who is ostensibly beholden to confidential information has broken that confidentiality (trust) and given it to a “rat” who will use it to publish something negative (why don’t they ever uncover anything positive?!).

What I’m saying here, to be clear, is that what used to be something sneaky and underhanded has been transformed into an acceptable occurrence. I understand that there is a need to expose illegal or immoral activity – but that’s not what this particular issue is about. Exposing a possible reprimand or shortcoming of Tony Romo’s performance on TV in no way rises to the level of being a “moral imperative”. This is simply, in my opinion, the need to knock down someone who is “on top”.

I also think that I am more disappointed in the people who leak this type of information than the person who publishes it for public consumption. This person, the leak, has broken a trust simply for the sake of bringing pain to another person. I am also not deaf to the fact that sometimes the “leak” of information is intentional either for proactive reasons or to set up one entity against another as well as a means of publicity, but that’s another subject for another time.

2. The dogpile of “experts”

What inevitably follows these days is a dogpile of opinions, expert commentary, and occasionally a rush to judgment. The dogpile is usually a pile of negativity regarding the “accused”. The commentary is also presented as “constructive criticism” but actually seems to be the talk of “cancellation” and why the accused should just give it up. In the case of Romo, most of the commentary seemed to be focused on how the decline in his performance was due to not working hard enough, not doing enough research, and in one particular case suggesting that Romo had almost committed an act of racism (a rush to judgment).

Here’s where we get to the title of this post, I think: The comments, criticism, and judgment are all ostensibly based on a leak that may or may not be true and that, probably, was not meant for public consumption. My point is that people are responding to the little bit of info they know THINKING it, and therefore THEY, are right, instead of KNOWING the entire truth which would probably show that they are wrong.

Does any of this really matter? Not really. I guess I’m just a little disappointed in society’s attitude – to be quick to criticize and be negative first, and positive and reaffirming maybe later. My perception is that bad or negative news makes money while the positive press is no longer necessary. And money is what ultimately matters these days, isn’t it?

I would prefer to think not.