Tom McDonald on Michael Crichton…

…on the Gell-Mann Effect puts me in mind of the fact that I independently noticed the same thing some years ago and wrote a piece on it: to wit, the weird fact that when the media writes about stuff in which he have some first-hand knowledge they are almost infallible wrong, yet when we turn the page to their coverage everything else, we inexplicably believe them.

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  • I really hate when that happens. If you’d only written Jurassic Park, we’d be calling it the “Al Gore Effect” right now. But then we’d think it referred to smug, insufferable hypocrites.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I noticed it when the national media was reporting on Matthew Shepard’s murder in Laramie, WY. It was my senior year at UW, Arrogance and ignorance are a deadly combination in reporting.

  • DAK

    I think there is a corollary to this effect. I’ll use a real life example to explain it. I have a friend who was raised (nominally) Catholic, but would now self identify as fundamentalist evangelical Christian, and he is intensely politically conservative. he retains no love for the Catholic Church though I would stop short of saying he is hostile to it. In his own words, however, he doubts many Catholics can make it to heaven.

    He is, rightfully so in nearly all cases, highly critical and skeptical of the media. But when the media claims the Pope is going to allow gay marriage or any other wildly inaccurately reported thing by the media about the Holy Father, he wonders what’s wrong with guy. Never mind what the Pope actually said, my friend in exhibiting an inverse-Gell-Mann effect: that on page one which he refused to believe given the source is irrelevant when he flips to page two and the same source bolsters his own concerns.