Friday, September 17, 2010

Two Minutes Hate

Default Experts

I hate when TV shows list someone as an expert don't give any of their credentials.  Just because someone is a doctor, does not make them an expert in all medical fields, and just because you are a scientist at MIT doesn't necessarily make you a physics expert.  Worst of all, is the "Former FBI Agent" expert.

FBI Agents get a lot of very good training.  I've known a couple and I would say that they were very smart, very competent people.  But, I would not label them as experts in everything related to criminality, evidence, fraudulence, and criminal justice.  Maybe a better rounded knowledge in all these fields than most people but not necessarily experts.  The FBI has experts - lots of them, but they tend to be very specialized in a single field.  For example, an expert in bank robberies is probably also not going to be an expert in bomb making, terrorism, and bio-weapons.  And that is just it - the FBI does a lot of stuff, but not every agent is involved in every area.  In fact, just a short time ago a majority of agents were accountants.  The FBI focused on white collar crime and bank robberies.  This may have since changed to focus more on terrorism type activities, but I believe there are still a lot of accountants in the Bureau.

FBI ≠ Expert of All

FBI agents have become almost some mythical, omniscient figures.  FBI agents are good but they make mistakes (think Ruby Ridge) and what they say shouldn't automatically be taken as expert testimony without further investigation.  Even if you give J.P. Morgan some general law enforcement training, you still wouldn't expect him to be an expert in serial killers.  Maybe the FBI agents that they interview or use for research are experts in a relevant field, but unless the shows divulge that info, I can't take the label FBI agent as proof of mastery.  I refuse to accept that and you should too.  Maybe it is laziness on the part of TV shows, maybe they don't have a better witness and use an FBI agent to try to lend more credence to their show.  I don't know, I just know that it isn't right and it annoys me.

End Hate


kelly said...

Obviously you're forgetting about Reid on Criminal Minds. Don't even try to claim he's not real. He'll shoot you with his stylish belt mounted pea shooter that's always flashing so dangerously underneath his Mr. Rogers cardigan.

Michael said...

Well yeah, Reid...but they never interview him.