Home > Annoyances, Idiocy, Political > How F’ing Hard Is It to Look Something Up?

How F’ing Hard Is It to Look Something Up?

TigerHawk rips the NY Times for, yet again, not doing simple research before blathering and making utter fools of themselves. Look, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the run up to the primaries and even less about Mitt Romney, but it is positively moronic to attempt to associate Romney and the phrase “In God We Trust” to McCarthy for at least two reasons: 1) McCarthy was right, there were dozens of communists in the highest levels of US government; and 2) it takes mere seconds to Google “in god we trust history” then select the US Mint hit. Less than half way down the page you’ll find this:

The Congress passed the Act of April 22, 1864. This legislation changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Mint Director was directed to develop the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary. IN GOD WE TRUST first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin. [emphasis added]

Using that same Google page, I searched Images for “1864 two-cent coin” and within a few seconds found this image:

1864 Two-Cent Coin

“IN GOD WE TRUST” is right there, as obvious as a NY Times writer the ass on a monkey! This research took all of about 75 seconds.

As has been pointed out time and time and time again, if these assholes can’t be trusted with the easy stuff, how can they be trusted on something that actually requires knowledge and the competence to use that knowledge? I’ve forgotten which blog had a link to Michael Crichton’s speech, Why Speculate?, but there you find

Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works 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 with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know. [emphasis added]

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.

Reminds me of a guy I served with in the Navy back in the ’80s. He was an officer, a pilot of an SH-3H helicopter. I was enlisted, a search and rescue swimmer and anti-submarine warfare operator (sonar operator in a helicopter). The officers and enlisted aircrew alike used to rag on him for getting a degree in physical education. It’s generally agreed that a B.S. in phys ed is perhaps the easiest, but while he might not have known much in the way of calculus or physics, he damned sure could tell you about exercise physiology. Does a degree in journalism require knowledge of anything? It makes me believe that, were it not for the fact that 99.99% of journalists aren’t just ignorant but cowards as well, all those active duty phys ed majors can exclaim, “Hey, fuck you! It isn’t journalism!”

By the way, TigerHawk’s post was inspired by James Taranto of WSJ’s OpinionJournal. Taranto guts the editorial with surgical precision.

Image is probably copyright of someone at Professional Coin Grading Service, found using this Google search.

Categories: Annoyances, Idiocy, Political
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