Will the Real Expert Please Stand Up?

in The Money Shot

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780226309095
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309088 | DOI:
Will the Real Expert Please Stand Up?

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This chapter focuses on the group or class of talk-show guests more peripheral to the “experts” genre. Why do experts participate in a forum that often seems ill suited—even hostile—to rational discussion and debate? How is expertise packaged and sold for mass consumption? How does the clash of agendas between producers and guests play itself out when the guests are experts rather than ordinary people? Experts—and particularly intellectuals—occupy a paradoxical position in American society. As Goldfarb notes, democracies need the specialized knowledge and creative capacities that intellectuals and other experts contribute because the democratic process requires an informed and critical citizenry, yet experts are still viewed with suspicion since hierarchy is questioned as a matter of fundamental principle. In the United States, this conflict dates back to the earliest years of colonial development, and it became more pronounced in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution.

Keywords: talk shows; talk-show guests; experts; ordinary people; American society; democratic process

Chapter.  16299 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Media Studies

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