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The fun in finger-pointing

A post yesterday, "In the realm of the White Queen," about some of the preposterous things public figures say, provoked this comment from Bruce Robinson: "But, dear host, why do continue to give credence to the cretins by perpetuating their outrageous (?) ideas?"

He's entitled to an answer.

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When a plane crashes into the side of a mountain, we are more interested than when a plane lands without incident at BWI. When a public official or public figure makes flat statements so blatantly unreliable that a child could expose them, it captures our attention.

Then, too, you have to remember my trade. Establishing factual accuracy is part of my job description, and error, either ignorant or deliberate, draws my attention, offends my sensibilities.

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There is additionally the journalistic imperative to see to it that the public has reliable information on which to make judgments. If it jangles your nerves when I bring up political whoppers, think instead of Jenny McCarthy's efforts to expose multitudes of children to preventable, and dangerous, childhood diseases because of her discredited belief that immunizations cause autism.

But I don't want to claim too much nobility. In plain fact, I derive from pointing out these misrepresentations foisted on the public the same satisfaction that people get from watching YouTube videos or jay Leno: an unearned sense of superiority.

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