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The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read
"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 (via Patrick Rhone and Cultural Offering)

This is the real value of trusted, personal publishing. It's also the lack of value inherent in television and newspaper publishing. Audiences are declining or non-existent for these media below retirement age.

When the news business was at its height, it made sense that those who produced the news were professionals at producing news. They had to be able to write about any subject. They weren't experts in that subject.

You couldn't hire a million experts and have them create stories when something popped up that needed covering. It doesn't scale for producing newspapers or television, which is why those types of media are dying. They only exist on life support now due to a fraudulent ad economy that ensures advertisers that their un-targeted, un-wanted and un-trackable ads are somehow WAY more effective.

Unfortunately, this the same model used by a lot of writers and photographers outside the news business. We believe that the medium comes first in storytelling. It doesn't. The story comes first, then our talent for telling it.