Listening to the coverage of the recent terrorist attack at a German Christmas celebration and market I almost choked when one reporter showed just how little he knows about what he was commenting on when he analyzed the attack. Today's was only one of the most obvious, dumbest mistakes reporters and "experts" make when they stop reporting facts and start guessing.

Truck drivers unite against fake news

It might seem a minor point, but this was only one instance of many, one which a lot of people will realize was a stupid thing to say. This misleading "News" undermined every other true thing they reported.

What caught my attention was when someone on MSNBC took five minutes to explain how the truck hijacker had to be highly trained because it is extremely difficult to drive a big rig truck.

This was to bolster his argument that this couldn't possibly have been a lone wolf but must have had sophisticated backing for the training required to drive a truck a few miles and then run away and hide.

The speaker talked about how these trucks have dozens of gears and other complicated controls, but he obviously had never driven a big truck, I have, and not as a trained Teamster, just as a mechanic who hopped into his first big tractor and drove it back to the shop for repairs.

I'd never driven anything with a gearshift and clutch other than a 2-seat sports car (Triumph Spitfire and Sunbeam Tiger) but it took me longer to find the button to release the air brakes than it did to master the transmission and two-speed differential -- probably five minutes total. (A Fuller Roadranger to be specific.)

But what reporter has actually done anything?

Many broadcast reporters have no experience in life other than college journalism classes and the kind of life any average person has, yet they pretend expertise when they go beyond reporting mere facts to fill time when there is no further real news to report.

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How do I know? Easy, I know people whose goal in life was to become a "news reader," which is all those talking heads on TV really are, with few exceptions. It is a skill, but few are real reporters.

Print reporters are often more experienced, at least in the old days when we had lives before we became reporters -- I for instance, never had a journalism course but have been a respected reporter for decades with dozens of major publications because I had experience in the real world.

That truck experience of mine was a half century ago, and many trucks these days have full synchro gears or even a kind of automatic transmission, making them as hard to drive as a Chevy pickup, other than steering it through town.

In the old days trucks had gear shifts which were difficult to master. It took me nearly five minutes the first time I got in a truck, which required what is called double clutching to shift gears. It took less time for me to learn to drive a giant rock truck down a hill to the shop where I could fix the brakes.

Reporters pretending expertise

TV reporters and pundits often just make things up while pretending expertise, and this is both insulting to real reporters and to a public with greater knowledge. This is a big reason people distrust uninformed reporters, and turn to Blastingnews where news is reported by real people who aren't insulated from life, but who have broad experience outside a TV studio or classroom. What truck driver could believe anything that that reporter said?

In this instance, even if big rig trucks were difficult to drive on a one-way trip, hundreds of millions of people drive big trucks, or even small trucks or cars so old that they require similar skills to drive.

I respect professional truck drivers, many are well trained and highly skilled, but it doesn’t take much practice to simply get a truck moving or steer it straight ahead, especially when you don’t care if you cut a few corners or clip a few cars, or run down a crowd of people. A reporter saying otherwise is faking news.