By PNG Echo
In spite of what he’s not, globalization and the democratization of the media means that he commands an audience far greater than his expertise warrants.
Tim Nichols in The Federalist in his essay ‘Death of expertise’ writes:
…democracy, […] denotes a system of government, not an actual state of equality. It means that we enjoy equal rights versus the government, and in relation to each other. Having equal rights does not mean having equal talents, equal abilities, or equal knowledge. It assuredly does not mean that “everyone’s opinion about anything is as good as anyone else’s.” And yet, this is now enshrined as the credo of a fair number of people despite being obvious nonsense.
Through facebook page, PNG News (although not confined to this page) this week in PNG, Bryan Kramer has single-handedly demonstrated this with his joyful but totally erroneous article claiming that Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill was replacing Twivey Lawyers with Australian lawyer Greg Sheppard. He’s not.
PNG News is a politically-driven and socially-engineered discussion group, that has managed to amass more than 80,000 members by fair means and foul.
It is a tightly controlled, closed group that uses exclusion to censor anyone who strays even slightly from their political and hidden agenda.
It is closely associated with Sonja Barry Ramoi and Noel Anjo, the ‘corruption fighters’ who are really political campaigners for Belden Namah. (Ramoi proudly self describes as Namah’s ‘official biographer’.
Namah was recently ousted from the opposition leadership, falling to Don Polye, who is usually the one being sidelined. Ramoi and Anjo are the same two that are currently being sued by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea for defamation.
Kramer is an administrator of PNG News.
The truth is, Greg Sheppard, has been acting for Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki in a lot of matters that overlap with the Prime Minister’s.
What’s more when Kramer delves into the reasons for the “dumping” of Twivey Lawyers by attacking the character and actions of Twivey herself, he is getting himself into very deep and uncomfortably hot legal water
And Twivey is not someone to trifle with.
The reason that she represents such high-profile people in such high-profile cases is that she gets results. Most of the cases that Twivey has appeared in lately have been decided in her client’s favour. She is organized, she is knowledgeable and she is thorough. In short, she’s a legal expert and an effective one.
Twivey, yesterday, responded angrily.
Her firm employs dozens of PNGeans whose livelihood depend on her. Kramer’s assertions, puts their livelihoods and jobs in jeopardy owing to the wide distribution and dissemination of his erroneous and seemingly malicious information through social media especially when he postulates reasons why the firm was ‘dumped’ – reasons that can’t exist as it wasn’t.
Although Kramer eventually retracted his incorrect assertions, he did so without admitting he was wrong – and he was. His amended statement was also wrong, stating that it was barrister and Queens Counsel, Mal Varitimos that was replacing Twivey, not Sheppard.
No he’s not, he can’t, they do two different jobs.
Twivey Lawyers often (but not always) instruct Varitimos on matters concerning the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister, just this week, gave Twivey Lawyers new instructions.
And therein lies the problem: Kramer is not a lawyer and clearly doesn’t know the difference between a solicitor and a barrister.
And he’s not a journalist either: journalists make mistakes, but I don’t know one that’s made one egregious mistake after another in regard to the very same matter.
For after the first embarrassing faux pas, you’d think that Kramer would be seriously questioning how ‘reliable’ his multiple sources (who apparently gave him the same information) really are. It suggests that either Kramer made up the information or his ‘sources’ used him as a patsy. There’s no third explanation.
It’s simple, Kramer is no journalist and his gather-round-children-as-I-explain-something-complicated-to-you-that-you-don’t-understand-and-I-do style of writing is an anathema to most of us.
He is overfamiliar with his subjects: in the aforementioned article he referred to lawyer Greg Sheppard fondly as ‘Greg’ (Yes, Mr Kramer, the use of Christian names in these instances is suggestive of a certain inappropriate fondness).
Then again, his legal explanations are often more convoluted than a court’s ruling. It’s as if the aim is to demonstrate how clever, educated and knowledgeable he is rather than to succinctly inform. The job of a journalist is to take a complicated matter and make it understandable – too long-winded and you lose your audience. Brevity is paramount.
Clearly, Mr Kramer has never had the discipline of writing a report in a designated and strict word limit: something that real journalists are very familiar with and which involves real writing, language and comprehension skills.
I wonder how the legal fraternity views this self appointed legal expert too?
There are those on pages of social media who believe him to be qualified legally, that’s dangerous. It seems though that Kramer is self-taught and, just as a lawyer that represents themself is said to have idiot for a client, does this self-taught guru have an idiot for a teacher?
I leave the last word to Tom Nichols and the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect:
…which says, in sum, that the dumber you are, the more confident you are that you’re not actually dumb. And when you get invested in being aggressively dumb…well, the last thing you want to encounter are experts who disagree with you, and so you dismiss them in order to maintain your unreasonably high opinion of yourself. (There’s a lot of that loose on social media, especially.)… some of the people who reject expertise are not really, as they often claim, showing their independence of thought. They are instead rejecting anything that might stir a gnawing insecurity that their own opinion might not be worth all that much.