Why people keep believing lies in the media

by 1389 on March 15, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), evil, lying, mainstream media, Serbia, sin, sloth, stupidity, the Clintons

You’d think people would learn – but they never do.

Animated news anchor

Call it the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect if you like. It’s about how we give undue credibility to journalists in the mainstream media who, either deliberately or negligently, get everything wrong.

Ed Driscoll at PJM describes it well:

The late Michael Crichton coined a phrase he called “the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect,” named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist:

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 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.

There you have it.


The term sloth refers to one of the seven deadly sins, that of physical and mental laziness, with the closely related emotional and spiritual apathy. It is not unrelated to depression and despair. While sloth is perhaps the most boring of the seven deadly sins, it is the easiest to commit.

Sloth has always been part of the human condition, and it has been an ever-present temptation for even the most saintly of individuals. The ancient desert father Evagrius of Pontus labeled the spiritual form of sloth that shades into depression as acedia. His contemporary, St. John Cassian, called it “the noonday demon.” (More about acedia here, here, and here; specifically Orthodox material is here, here, and here.)

Actual sloths deserve a pass

Yawning baby sloth

The term sloth also refers to two varieties of slow-moving, tree-dwelling mammals that live in Central and South America. Unlike lazy human beings, sloths have ample reason for their slow-paced way of life: they need to conserve energy because their food supply has a very low concentration of nutrients, and their motionlessness helps them escape the notice of predators.

Human beings, on the other hand, are moral agents who are held accountable for all they do – or fail to do. This is where mental sloth comes in.

Sloth is no joke; it matters in the real world.

Taking what you read or hear at face value without checking it is mental sloth. It’s also a dereliction of one’s duty as a citizen and a voter. When many people fail in that regard, as so often happens, catastrophe ensues.

Perhaps you have heard of “low-information voters.” To vote is to govern. Low-information voters can’t be bothered to find out who the candidates are and what policies they stand for, much less what damage those policies might do. But they’ll cast ballots anyway if pressured to do so by their peers or by a political machine.

“Get real. Who has the time or resources to fact-check every news item?

Nobody does. But you can always take a moment to remind yourself that persuasive, emotion-packed stories that seem to be true often are not. You can also remind others not to take allegations at face value until verifiable information comes out.

The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect applies not only to the media, but also to the utterances of politicians whose constant lying is their primary tool for dealing with the public. Politicians are caught telling manifold lies, but the next time they open their mouths, their words are taken at face value – especially regarding foreign policy in parts of the world that are unfamiliar to most people.

Look at how the Clintons got away with bombing the Serbs, just because they could!

The dog ate my homework
The dog ate everyone’s homework

Bill Clinton had just been impeached for perjury, of all things. He was also facing credible rape allegations from Juanita Broaddrick. He needed a quick image makeover, and his sycophants in the media happily obliged. They made a hero out of Bill by creating the narrative that they had to act quickly and without deliberation to save those poor, persecuted Muslims from “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” being perpetrated by those eeeeevil Orthodox Christian Serbs. The Kosovo War got the Clintons back together, after a fashion.

They got away with this evil charade because hardly anybody could be bothered to find out where Serbia was, who the Serbs were, and what the Muslims in the area were up to. Had the media or the public done their homework, they would have found out that it was not the Serbs, but rather, the Muslims who were the perpetrators of atrocities and ethnic cleansing.

This propaganda onslaught allowed the Clinton Administration to proceed with their plans with no interference from Congress, the media, or the public. They succeeded in arm-twisting NATO into collaborating with the bombing of the Serbs and the occupation of Kosovo that continues to this day. The sacred land of Kosovo is effectively ruled by a narcoterrorist gang with ties to al Qaeda, whose long-term goal is to make Kosovo part of a Muslim “Greater Albania.” This demonstrates that politicians can indeed fool enough of the people enough of the time.

“It takes two people to lie. One to lie, and one to believe.”
– Homer Simpson

Think about it: liars would be out of business without a ready supply of gullible chumps. You have the freedom not to be one.

Also see:

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Suze March 15, 2013 at 1:36 am

A great article.

2 1389 March 15, 2013 at 6:56 am


3 ellenw March 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Great reminder. I was really hit over the head by the effect you mention when I began reading the Economist some years ago. I’d be reading analyses of things going on in other countries and started feeling much more informed. But then I began to notice that almost every time I read an Economist story on the U.S., I’d be entering mental caveats, inserting corrections, and generally feeling that they were not capturing the real truth of the matter. Finally the light bulb switched on: What if the people in other countries have similar reactions? I am now much more conscious, even when I am reading news about local topics and from trusted sources, there might be a lot missing from the picture I’m getting.

4 Jim Campbell March 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Treat read, added to it here. Being a former specialist in Psychological Operations, Psy/Ops courtesy of the U.S. Army we used this and other media quite well . enjoy,


5 tony March 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

This is a good truth revealing article, and poses another question; why are Democrat politicians helping our jihadist enemies? with Clinton doing this to the Christian Serbs and now Obama having helped remove all the leaders in the middle east who had made peace with Israel. Clearly the Democrats are being advised by a very SINISTER group of behind the scenes individuals.

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