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Hrant Gadarigian

Yerevan Rant: When Ignorance Frames the Public Discourse

Why do I continue listening to radio in Armenia?

I’ll tell you - more for the laughs than actual info and insight.

But it’s getting to be unbearable.

Heard the following today on one of the "better” radio stations in Yerevan…

Some history professor, university department head, etc. is being interviewed by a youngish woman (sorry, but this fact is somewhat pertinent).

The learned professor is trying to make the point that Armenia shouldn't look to Russia as its protector/#1 ally in a pinch. (OK fine; debatable yes?)

So what does he state as fact to lend an air of credibility to his argument?

“You know, the Russian Empire liberated western Armenia "countless" times; only to retreat due to various reasons.”  He doesn't specify those “countless” times.

Then, the woman interviewing him says: "Yes, if we look at the history of the 19th century, Russian forces invaded and occupied western Armenia a total of 8 (eight times)" "That's correct," replies the professor. A few sentences later, the professor catches himself..."Well maybe not eight times..."

OK, professor jan, how many times was it? 2, 4, 6, 8? "Countless" is a bit vague,no? But let's not quibble.Makes things that much easier...

Ignorance writ large. Must be true…. A professor said so on the radio…..

I've heard so many instances of such misinformation go uncontested on the radio on a variety of issues. (I won't call it disinformation because the speakers, those experts, actually believe they are speaking the truth)

Thus, I've come to the sad conclusion that mediocrity rules; ignorance dominates. No one is held accountable for what they profess to be the facts.

Why? Because everyone else is mostly unknowledgeable anyway. Those who actually know what they’re talking about are rarely given the opportunity to rebut such fiction posing as fact.

Who is going to counter these jokers, these poseurs?

And, in this jumble of fact and fiction, we are trying to conduct a rational national discourse.

Go figure.

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