It is frighteningly easy to become an ‘expert’. When I was in my 20s and newly qualified I was regularly described as a ‘world famous expert’ or a ‘leading expert’ whenever I was quoted in the media.
At least I was only ever giving my opinion based on the facts which were available – I have never been paid or otherwise bribed to offer an opinion or a particular point of view.
By Dr Vernon Coleman
There is a certain amount of irony in the fact that now I am much older, and I hope wiser and better informed, I am never invited to give my opinion on TV or radio shows or for the press.
The mainstream media prefers its experts to stick to the official and accepted line on whatever topic is under discussion.
What viewers, listeners and readers don’t know is that many so-called experts have been bought and paid for, and when they open their mouths they are merely saying what they’ve been told to say by their employers.
The drug industry has an army of doctors who will say whatever they are required to say – in return for a large cheque, a holiday abroad or a new television set. Special agencies offer these so-called experts to media groups who are looking for someone who can provide an apparently expert view.
Television reporters, radio presenters and newspaper journalists like the fact that these experts work free of charge because they are paid by their sponsors. The ‘experts’ are known as ‘rent a quote experts’.