Letter to Romenesko
That said, other than as a voter, I have no pony in any election — partisan or non-partisan. I do, however, bemoan that many in the media are, as are many lawyers and judges [Fine's profession], sloppy and unwilling or unable to take the care that excellence and accuracy requires.
For many years before he died, [former Milwaukee Sentinel reporter] Eldon Knoche had me talk to his UWM journalism class. It was an evening session and many of the students were well into adulthood. I always started with this question: “How many here have been involved with something that made it into the print or broadcast news?” Every year about half raised their hands. Then I asked: “Please keep your hands up if the reportage was accurate.” Every year every hand went down. I tried to use that example so that they, if they ever got a journalism job, would remember the special obligation to -care-!
Anyway, here is Gell-Mann Amnesia as described by Crichton:
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.