No One is Qualified to Speak
2015 January 17
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A corollary to the Nothing is True argument favoured by Kremlin Trolls and others is the No One is Qualified to Speak on This Topic (except me, of course) attack. I turned up a nice example of the latter approach when trying to ascertain who Paul Goble is.

@MFS001 It's from a Ukrainian news source. I don't believe anything they put out anymore.

— Military Studies (@ArmedResearch) December 21, 2014
An opening salvo of Nothing is True, to the effect that nothing from a Ukrainian news source can be deemed credible.

@MFS001 Do you know what Window on Eurasia is? It's a blog. Not a legitimate news source.

— Military Studies (@ArmedResearch) December 21, 2014
Follow up is to dismiss the message out of hand based on the method of delivery - in this case a blog. It's Just a Blog. Variations include They're Just a Blogger, It's Just a Tweet, etc. It can't be true because of the medium, and the message is not to be believed because the medium means the messenger is not qualified to speak on the subject. These assertions are invariably unsubstantiated.

@MFS001 Good for him? The blog has no sources or any credentials.

— Military Studies (@ArmedResearch) December 21, 2014
I'm pretty sure a blog is not capable of having sources or credentials - those would be attributes of the blogger. As for the blogger, in this case Paul Goble, he does cite sources, and he does have credentials. Either the attacker can't be bothered to look, or doing so is not relevant to achieving their objective.

@MFS001 Ok? My credentials are even better than his. Doesn't mean I can make a statement that inflammatory with no evidence.

— Military Studies (@ArmedResearch) December 21, 2014
The anonymous Twitter account claims to have better credentials than Goble. The former cannot be verified, whereas Goble's credentials can be checked, and having done so, I consider Goble to be eminently qualified to speak on subjects related to Russia, the countries formerly part of the Soviet Union, and the neo-Soviet goons currently occupying the Kremlin. Attempting to portray him as an unqualified, uncredentialed blogger reveals quite a lot, but not about Goble.

@MFS001 Just saying, don't tag me in anything from Ukraine news or that guy please. It is obvious he is making claims without evidence.

— Military Studies (@ArmedResearch) December 21, 2014
A number of things are obvious to me based on the above, but "Paul Goble makes claims without evidence" is not one of them.

© 2015 Andrew Aaron Weisburd