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« Another Journalist on the Govt. Payroll | Main | Hypocrisy in the Ranks of the Powerful »

March 28, 2005


Joe Buck

Your headline is ill-chosen. There are millions of bloggers, many of whom are in the habit of tossing around the "liar" term too lightly; there are only a few security experts in Bruce Schneier's league.

Try "AP Won't Say It; Internationally Respected Security Expert Does".

Alex Krupp

I agree with Joe, and was going to say the same thing. For what it's worth, I just finished Beyond Fear (which I liked very much) and am now working my way through Practical Cryptography, both by Bruce.

Bob M

I'm not sure I agree with Joe, but I find the choice he presents to Dan fascinating, for it puts Dan on the spot as I see it: whether to characterize Bruce as a part of Grassroots Journalism or whether to characterize him just as a recognized expert.

Am I see seeing the choice correctly here?

Daniel Conover

Credentialing. It gives us a quick sense of the reliability and expertise of the person speaking. It's why "Who says?" remains a companion question to "How do you know?"

The people on these boards tend to spend a lot of time checking credentials, and there's an almost organic corrective mechanism in some circles of the blogosphere that addresses false claims of authority.

But is that enough? Should we develop new ways of credentialing experts in this next wave of media? At some point, does the background noise of a million bloggers shouting "liar!" becomes a bit like spam in your mailbox?

Kirk Caraway

This reminds me of a column I wrote last month, about why journalists will not use the "L" word, even when it's clear a person is lying.


Daniel is correct, but relying on a third party judgement of credibility is still fraught with danger. Our attitude towards bloggers and "professional" journalists, "experts" and other official writers alike should be 'caveat lector' -- let the reader beware (pardon my high school Latin if it's's been a LONG time). Credentialing, degrees, experience and affiliations are all indicators affecting credibility, but everybody has blind spots, personal agendas and biases, and nobody's knowledge or judgement has been infallible in the last 2000 years. Also, the fact that a certain mass of public opinion favors something or other gives it power, but not credibility.

On topic...much as I hate name-calling without proof of intent (the bureacrats and politicians could just be stupid, incompetent and misled, not liars)...Bruce's assessment seems to be right on the mark in this case.

Dan Gillmor

Bruce is blending the old and new world. He's a published author of note, and a man of great accomplishments in his domain.

He's a journalist part of the time, and clearly in this instance served as one.


So what's new ?? The gov has always walks the thin line on truths and lies. The MSM always walk the thin line on publishing facts (True Lies !!)

Blogger/Security Expert calls the TSA a Liar. So what happens now, Can TSA sue the expert for Slander ?

In all reality can the general Public- 12 million Passengers sue TSA and the US governement for lying and collecting this information ? Dr.Cory of boing boing Fame had some runs in w/TSA. I posted my thoughts a long time ago on TSA. will the TSA report bring about diplomatic situtions ? (i.e American Government not being upfront w/ other Governments) ??

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