Growing up, i always thought news anchors to be some of the most intelligent people in the world.

Growing up, I always thought news anchors to be some of the most intelligent people in the world. I mean, they’re jack of all trades with knowledge in various fields, ranging from finance, meteorology, politics and sports or so I thought. They’re usually eloquent with glamorous looks imbued with charm. I’ve decided not to take news anchors or reporters seriously anymore. I will delve into the reasons soon enough. Before that I’d like us to take a trip back in time to 1918 Germany. s
Shortly before World War I ended, Max Planck after receiving the Nobel Prize in physics decided to embark on a tour across Germany. Apparently, he didn’t change his speeches when giving lectures wherever he was invited to. Wherever he went, he delivered the same lecture, word for word and overtime his chauffer grew to know it by heart. One day, on their way to Munich, his driver said to him: “Professor Planck, I’ve heard you give the same lecture on quantum mechanics so many times that I now know it by heart. It must be very boring for you, so for tonight why don’t we swap roles? I’ll deliver the lecture and you sit in the audience and wear my chauffeur’s cap.”

Max Planck was thrilled by the idea, hence that evening they swapped roles and the chauffer gave a long lecture on quantum mechanics in front of a distinguished audience and scientists. After the lecture, a physicist asked a question which was incomprehensible to the chauffer. He recoiled: “I’m surprised that someone from the renowned city of Munich could ask such a basic question. I will leave my chauffeur to answer it.”

According to Charlie Munger, the business partner of Berkshire Hathaway chairman, Warren Buffet, there are two types of knowledge. The first type of knowledge is real/planck knowledge which people commit large amount of their time, effort and resources to understand a topic whereas the second type of knowledge, that is the chauffer knowledge is from people who are empty barrels or show offs. They put on a show by being confident, having a way with words and looking glamorous but the knowledge they espouse aren’t theirs. They basically read a script off head. Charlie Munger usually uses this story to illustrate the difference between the real understanding of a topic and the mere appearance of it.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to sift planck knowledge from chauffer knowledge due to the rise of smartphones and search engines. People can scratch a surface of a certain topic then parade themselves as people with planck knowledge. However with news anchors it’s easy to say they are all chauffers(An hyperbole). These are actors reading a script out loud on live television. Subconsciously, I think we all know yet the heaps of praise they receive not to mention the respect they get for moderating panels about topics most of them know nothing about is astounding. A backroom staff and collaborations with professionals from various fields make news anchors look like people with planck knowledge. It will be unfair without saying there are exceptions to these mould. The chauffer knowledge isn’t confined to news anchors only, whatever field you find yourself in, there is bound to be people with chauffer knowledge.

How do we spot the difference between these two types of knowledge? Every expert in a particular subject or field knows the limits of what they do and do not know. If they ever find themselves outside of their zone, they either keep quiet or simply utter an “I don’t know” phrase. They do this without the fear of being ridiculed or being seen as dumb but with people with chauffer knowledge it pans out differently. Expertise is simply “You dey force or you dey force am”

By now, I’m sure you’ve gripped the reasons why news anchors shouldn’t be taken seriously even though their work is important.


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