Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Why Do Big Magazines Hire Hacks for Big Tech Stories?

Jeff Carlson, on the Sunday Times Jony Ive interview:

I really do wish I knew why such high-profile, information-rich interview opportunities like this one are squandered by big magazines. I’m sure it will get lots of page views and maybe newsstand sales, but the editors at Time (and The Sunday Times Magazine, which originally ran the piece) should be embarrassed. I’m not optimistic on that front.

We react this way to tech stories because those of us who understand technology recognize just how flawed they are. But perhaps other stories — arts and entertainment, world news, etc. — are covered in a similarly flawed fashion, and we don’t know where they falter because we’re not sufficiently knowledgeable.

There’s a name for this phenomenon: the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. Michael 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.