Letterman incident confirms importance of being informed

By on October 21, 2009

Knowledge is the cornerstone of every university.

It is knowledge that inspires classes and enhances personality. Knowledge is a money maker and a tool for longevity. Knowledge does good things.

But the opposite holds equally true. A lack of knowledge does bad things, and in some cases, things that are seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Grace Levine responded to questions from TMZ without particularly understanding the style of news that TMZ produces. And that bit of missing knowledge was all the fuel that TMZ needed for a story to take off.

Levine told TMZ that she was not speaking on behalf of the University. But her words fell on deaf ears, as TMZ already had everything they needed. She became an unnamed “Quinnipiac University rep.” The headline was “College to Letterman: Don’t Touch Our Interns,” and Levine’s seemingly harmless words became representative of the entire University.

Perez Hilton picked up the story. A New York Daily News gossip report reported on it. And while Worldwide Pants, the company that owns The Late Show with David Letterman, had no comment on the matter, they surely heard it as well.

We cannot particularly blame Levine for this incident, and some would contend there is no blame necessary. But it was Levine’s sense of knowledge that has taught us all, including her, a valuable lesson.

Be informed.

Had Levine the knowledge of what sort of news TMZ produced, she would not have responded to them in the first place. Had balloon boy’s father known to tell his son to create an excuse for hiding in the attic, he might have gotten away with his hoax. (If you didn’t catch the Wolf Blitzer interview, Falcon Heene reminded his father on CNN that, “We did it for the show.”)

Quinnipiac’s Letterman fiasco is a good example of the ills of the uninformed. Something as simple as being unaware of a Web site like TMZ put Quinnipiac University in the headlines, and perhaps not in the way the University had hoped. QU was wrongly portrayed because of one uninformed professor.

And this instance is a macrocosm of any uninformed perception. Misinformation or lack of information can reflect poorly on how anyone or anything is perceived.

That, of course, begs the question.

How informed are people in perceiving you?

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