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September 17, 2011

"You turn the page and forget what you know."

Mme Scherzo - 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. -- Michael Crichton

Posted by Vanderleun at September 17, 2011 10:24 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I experienced this phenomena while a B-1B crew member in the AF. During its early days, and before Clinton admin, media routinely used mis-information about B-1B as a club to beat up on Bush 41. That was the time I started recognizing with increasing clarity that the "media" had a distinct bias. It wasn't just ignorance, it was deliberate.

Posted by: stephen b at September 17, 2011 2:06 PM

Any and all pilots, from "Cub drivers" to X-15 test pilots recognize this phenomenon usually about the first time they touch an aircraft.

Give up on the "need" to keep in touch with new news, and go deep into subjects. Rather than letting NBC, et all pollute your mind with their triviality, read industry publications. Or read blogs of those that work or follow particular industries.

I discovered this when I started my current job and began switching from my lifelong news junkie habits to week-delayed podcast addiction. Even if you randomly concentrate on topics, and go deep into them, they all eventually show up in the news. When they do your depth of knowledge will highlight what an utter waste of time, if not actual ideological screed, virtually all "news" is in real life.

Whether you know it or not, all "news" stories are already written before any incident. The templates are simply filled-in with names and dates upon the actual event.

If you are dumb enough to watch lame stream media you have volunteered to be misled. Not one conservative I've ever met doubts the pervasive bias of drive-by media, yet they seem unable to avoid it. You're a citizen not an idle passenger. Pick your inputs like it matters. It does matter.

Posted by: Scott M at September 17, 2011 6:38 PM

Having worked in the press, I saw this up close. It isn't just that the press is biased, it is because they have a worldview that is at odds with reality. Reality never seems to touch them because they are insulated from it.

In one case, a reporter discovered that I knew several homeschooling families and wanted me to persuade them to give an interview about their experiences as homeschoolers. This was back in '91, so it wasn't as common or popular to homeschool, then. The parents all said no, citing anti Christian biases in the press and the utter misinformation they wrote after having given interviews.

When I told the reporters that the families all said no, the response, collectively, was: They probably have more than 5 kids (They did. Most families had 6 or 7 children) and then went on a rant about the evil pro-life movement.

In other words, the reporter wasn't even interesting in the homeschooling movement, but was looking for a way to attack them for their 'extremist and intolerant' lifestyle. It was an eye-opening experience to see the hate come out like that. And this hate-filled worldview seems to fill the souls of those who work for the fourth estate.

Posted by: Mme Scherzo at September 17, 2011 8:16 PM