Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Expert Schmexpert

From Angry in the Great White North we learn that the "expert" employed by the Globe & Mail to review the Grewal tapes obtained his formal forensic examiner qualifications from a US mail-order diploma mill.
I think the Globe and Mail should have considered the source of these pronouncements are bit more carefully. I checked out Jack Mitchell, and I have to say I'm not impressed.

Jack Mitchell is the owner of Computer Audio Engineering in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In an interview I found, he definitely sounds like he knows what he's talking about (even if the interviewer didn't -- an "FFT" is a "Fast Fourier Transform" -- a way of depicitng sound content as a spread over frequencies instead of a spread over time). On the other hand, he proudly lists the American College of Forensic Examiners as as his only professional forensic certification

- "He basically takes people's money and gives them a worthless piece of paper," says Robert Phillips, an Audubon, N.J., document examiner. "He's just in it for the money." Phillips claims he has reason to know. He says he resigned as chair of the organization's certification committee in 1993 after discovering that O'Block was issuing credentials to unqualified candidates behind the committee's back.

Many of the nation's leading forensic scientists don't seem to have much use for O'Block or his organization either.

James Starrs, a professor of law and forensic sciences at George Washington University, says the organization's certification process lacks objectivity. "It's driven by the felt needs of the people in charge," he says. "If they want you in, you're in, even if they have to break all of the rules to do it."

Andre Moenssens, a law school professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and an expert on scientific evidence, goes even further. He says O'Block's organization is basically a certification mill. "For the right amount of money, he will certify just about anybody as an expert in anything," Moenssens says.
There you have it folks. The Globe's "expert" has spoken. I think, given the enormous importance of this matter for the country, that Canadians have right to expect major media outlets to use properly qualified personnel in this case. Don't you?

Were the tapes altered? I dunno and neither do you. It is clear, however, that analyzing copies of the tapes, rather than working with the originals is a mugs game.

The Grewal tapes have taken on a life of their own and, in my view, distract the electorate from extensive and pervasive Liberal corruption. That is what ought to be the story. Bickering over the authenticity of the tapes is not. That is the sad reality.


At 7:25 am, June 10, 2005 , Blogger Kermit said...

Expertism is one of our employment policies here in the lower 48. Encourage a dingleberry to hang some paper and he can hire out as a consultant.

Hey, gets him off our unemployment rolls...

And out of the swamp!


PS - The media folk make it a worthwhile project. Hey, look how many retired military the media search for experts took off of unemployment. Almost every Tom, Dick and Newspaper has its own retired general officer doing the 'Armchair Quarterback' schtick by running an entire war with 0 tactical information and not having to talk to or think about troopers. It's his next best thing to Heaven.


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