‘Tis the Oppo Research Season

 

oppoHere on Ricochet we often discuss the strange phenomenon of the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect, a term that comes from Michael Crichton’s 2005 talk, “Why Speculate?

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.

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

One reason for this is we have no choice. Most of us need to know about the world beyond the walls of our own home. Let’s broadly define “the media” as stories on television, the Internet, in newspapers, books, and magazines that represent themselves as non-fiction accounts of current events. If we were to treat the media with the skepticism it’s earned — based on our experience of its accuracy when we know a lot about the subject at hand — we’d be forced into a kind of radical skepticism. We’d have to limit the confines of what we think we know to things we’d personally seen or heard from from a highly trusted interlocutor. Our mental worlds would be tiny.

I’ve never personally seen Tampa, Florida, no less the North Pole; I’ve never seen Xi Jinping or Marco Rubio and thus can’t be sure they really exist (perhaps they’re actors who play Xi Jinping and Marco Rubio, or clever holograms?); I certainly can’t be sure they truly hold the political opinions they express or are said to express. Rubio, in turn, if he really exists, has not personally witnessed the production of every good or service in South Carolina that’s consumed in China, nor has he personally tallied up its value, nor did he independently arrive at the sum $4.2 billion after patiently counting it all himself. None of us could function like that. Modern industrialized life and the modern nation-state depend upon us having some trust in what we see, hear, and read in the media. Philosophically, I do accept that it’s possible I’m living in some form of Truman Show, but as Bertrand Russell noted, skepticism is logically impeccable but psychologically impossible. There’s an element of frivolous insincerity in any philosophy which pretends to accept it.

That said, skepticism really is logically impeccable, particularly now. We’re now entering oppo-hit season, meaning it’s downright stupid not to be skeptical — to the point that I’m finding it a source of psychological strain, because Russell’s right: It’s psychologically impossible. And something happened recently that made me even more skeptical. I’m not going to go into details because they’re distracting from the moral point. It was roughly as follows:

If you’ve been reading what I write for a while, you know that I’m interested in Issue X and have strong views about it. I’ve made no secret of my views and written about X many a time, here and elsewhere. That I’m concerned about X and annoyed by those who don’t see X the way I do will come as a shock to absolutely no one here. For the purpose of this argument, mentally substitute any issue you feel strongly about for X.

Recently, an acquaintance I know only vaguely called me “to catch up.” He’s now working as a lobbyist. Turns out he’s working on Issue X. I figure he’s calling to ask me my opinion about it, maybe a quote for an article or something, but no. He wants me to write an article about Issue X. Three of them, in fact. For payment. “In confidence.” Right away. And find someone to publish them. And perhaps, he added, I’d mention which candidates agreed with me about Issue X and which didn’t, and who had taken money from an influential X-backer.

For payment. A handsome amount by any freelance journalist’s reckoning.

I reacted to this suggestion as I would to being called what women who do that sort of thing for a living are usually called. But I truly think he didn’t grasp why. He wasn’t just pretending not to grasp it. “After all,” he said (I paraphrase roughly), “You do feel strongly about Issue X, right? Those pro-X people are genuinely evil, or at least deluded. Congressman Y is on the wrong side of Issue X, and X has him in his back pocket, so what’s your problem? Why not inform and educate people about Issue X and Congressman Y and get paid for it? Don’t you have bills to pay? What’s wrong with earning a living and paying the bills?”

Something about the ease with which he proposed this suggested to me that this sort of thing must happen a lot more than I realize. He sounded as if he made a hundred phone calls like this a day. It sure didn’t sound as if he expected me to react by hanging up on him or fainting directly into my copy of Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten. He seemed genuinely to think this was morally unproblematic. I have the right opinion, he’s got lots of money, a perfect match. Win-win, right?

I don’t know who the money really comes from. It seemed to be designed to put a few layers between the people financing the oppo hit and the journalist. But note: I wasn’t just offered a tip. I was offered “a research grant” to do more “research” into the subject and publish what I discovered as prominently as I could, and I was offered more money than most journalists make in several months to do this “research.” (Again: I’ve made my opinions about Issue X known many a time here on Ricochet. It seems those opinions are worth about $500 bucks a paragraph on the open market. Rejoice! You’re getting much better value from your Ricochet membership than you thought.)

Has this sort of thing always happened? I’m sure it has. But is it happening more now than it used to? I bet it is, for two reasons. First, the Internet has so fractured the media market that people who used to be able to make a pretty comfortable, stable, middle-class living as journalists can’t anymore. So the financial incentives to corruption are much greater than they used to be. Second, the extreme political polarization in the US has resulted in a widespread belief that the media is biased and the future of the Republic in doubt. That provides a built-in rationale to anyone tempted by corruption. You can readily tell yourself it serves a noble purpose. We’re up against the biased, lying, Pro-X media. We have to play unfair because they do. We’ve got to get the anti-X story out there. Our republic depends upon it. 

I suspect this sort of thing started happening a lot more after 2007-8, both for financial reasons — journalists, like everyone, were badly hit by the recession — and because the Internet fractured the media market. It’s hard to understate how psychologically devastating this was to those of us who used to cover a particular beat. We were forced to conclude either that there was never really any market demand for what we’d been selling for years (and thus that what we’d been doing for many years was pretty meaningless), or — in the much more ego-syntonic view — that news consumers were idiots. If you believe the latter, it’s much easier to take the next step: They’re such idiots that it doesn’t matter whether what you write is honest, all that matters is winning them around to the right “narrative.”

I never believed, growing up, that this sort of corruption was commonplace in America. Occasional, yes, but commonplace, no. I thought American institutions were so well-established, and Americans generally too ethical and professional, for corruption like this to become widespread. That sort of thing, I thought, was really banana-republic stuff.

But now I suspect that Americans were just too well-paid to do things like that, or that they had too many opportunities to be well-paid. After all, if you can pay the bills and save a bit and have a nice enough life, prostitution and graft don’t seem like attractive options, because they require thinking of yourself as a corrupt prostitute, which is not an especially gratifying self-image.

So I’m becoming worried that we had so many good, prosperous years that many of us never needed to work out for ourselves a general sense of ethics — one that works in lean times as well as fat. We’ve predicated a great deal of our social compact on the idea that Americans just don’t do things like this. We may not realize that in fact it doesn’t take much at all to persuade Americans to do just these kinds of things. If the economy gets worse, will Americans instinctively know that there are some things you just cannot do, even if the justification is, “I’ve got a family to feed?” How soon would we be buying off cops and judges as a matter of habit?

And if so many supposedly-independent journalists and analysts are doing this already, surely it’s only a matter of time before it does terrible damage to the idea of freedom of expression. The public will cease to care if the government locks up journalists — after all, at least streetwalkers perform an honest service. Nor will anyone be inclined to give journalists, even careful ones, the benefit of the doubt when they reports stories that are in the public interest. The function of the Fourth Estate in a democracy will be undermined.

Anyway: ‘Tis the oppo research season. Be careful what you read out there.

And I declare myself formally grossed out by this election season.

 

 

There are 43 comments.

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  1. Mike LaRoche Member
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: 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.

    I recall reading dozens of such articles during last summer’s ridiculous pogrom against the Confederate battle flag.  The historical ignorance and outright stupidity (e.g. referring to the flag as the “Stars and Bars”) on display was palpable.

    • #1
  2. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Mike LaRoche:

    I recall reading dozens of such articles during last summer’s ridiculous pogrom against the Confederate battle flag. The historical ignorance and outright stupidity (e.g. referring to the flag as the “Stars and Bars”) on display was palpable.

    It always gets worse the more you know about the subject, doesn’t it? Yet we continue to read the news as if we hadn’t just been given an extremely powerful reason to disbelieve everything in it.

    • #2
  3. blank generation member Member
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    News organizations are opinion sites with a title.  At least that’s my take these days.

    I admire a publication like Aviation Week and Space Technology.  I figure there’s a fair amount of members here who do.  Maybe they pay their staff enough.  Technical, but very informative.  And too interesting if you have been in the business.

    • #3
  4. Dan Hanson Thatcher
    Dan Hanson
    @DanHanson

    That was a fantastic post, Claire.  Thanks very much!

    • #4
  5. Ball Diamond Ball Member
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire, I’m sorry it came from an acquaintance.  It might as well be from a friend for all the immediate need of a shower it probably caused.

    For some time at work, my e-mail sig quote was this: “Integrity places not only a lower limit on loyalty, but an upper limit as well.”

    • #5
  6. DialMforMurder Member
    DialMforMurder
    @DialMforMurder

    The post was a hard slog but your link to the earlier one you wrote was very fascinating, even though it’s four years old.

    I never really thought about the decline of foreign press bureaus before, but it makes a lot of sense. I also blame the internet and the expansion of tourism for the decline of foreign-language proficiency. No one who travels seems to bother learning any basic words of the country they are visiting anymore, they just hammer locals with simple English. But then, so many people speak English as a second language that even if you do ask a question in their language, they’ll answer you in English to make things easier for you. It’s too easy, your deprived of a crucial part of learning about a foreign culture.

    It got me thinking, since ricocheters are based far and wide, that it would be fun to hear about what they think are the biggest myths and inaccuracies reported by the MSM and perpetuated by social media about their home state/country.

    • #6
  7. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ball Diamond Ball:Claire, I’m sorry it came from an acquaintance. It might as well be from a friend for all the immediate need of a shower it probably caused.

    I didn’t take it personally. I was much more disturbed by what it implies about everyone else than by what it implies about me. I did puzzle myself for a bit afterward by shifting the parameters a bit: What about, “I have a member of your family hostage in my basement. Would you write what you actually believe anyway to save his life?” Well — of course. I’d be a monster if I said no. (Assume no possibility of turning this over to law enforcement, etc. — it’s do this or your loved one dies.) So we’ve actually established that of absolutely, there’s a price for which I’d do it — so now we’ve established what I am and we’re just haggling about the price. But it’s a very high price — not one on which you can put a dollar figure, right?

    Well, what if it is? What if the family member had a life-threatening illness and there was a life-saving but expensive medical treatment for it that we couldn’t afford? You get where I’m going … and especially if I already believe that “Everyone should agree with me about Issue X, because it would save lives.” The temptation would be irresistable. Of course it would be. In fact, it’s not just “a temptation to do the wrong thing” — it’s actually a genuine moral dilemma, if the price is high enough.

    What’s your price? I don’t honestly know where mine is, I just know that was a lowball and thus offensive offer.

    For some time at work, my e-mail sig quote was this: “Integrity places not only a lower limit on loyalty, but an upper limit as well.”

    • #7
  8. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: [P]rostitution and graft don’t seem like attractive options, because they require thinking of yourself as a corrupt prostitute, which is not an especially gratifying self-image.

    Speak for yourself. Corrupt prostitute would be an improvement from my current station in life. In fact, I can think of nothing better to aspire to.

    Would you mind connecting me to this acquaintance of yours? I know you are opposed to compromising your morals and that’s respectable and all and I’m sure it will pay off when you die and don’t end up burning for eternity, but I’m a millennial and don’t care about such junk and since America is doomed, I figure I might as well make a buck along the way. Thanks.

    • #8
  9. blank generation member Member
    blank generation member
    @blankgenerationmember

    Cat III:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: [P]rostitution and graft don’t seem like attractive options, because they require thinking of yourself as a corrupt prostitute, which is not an especially gratifying self-image.

    Speak for yourself. Corrupt prostitute would be an improvement from my current station in life. In fact, I can think of nothing better to aspire to.

    Would you mind connecting me to this acquaintance of yours? I know you are opposed to compromising your morals and that’s respectable and all and I’m sure it will pay off when you die and don’t end up burning for eternity, but I’m a millennial and don’t care about such junk and since America is doomed, I figure I might as well make a buck along the way. Thanks.

    I recommend Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by Florence King to disabuse you about the glories of porno writing.

    • #9
  10. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    I declare myself more-or-less immune to the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect.  After noticing, years ago, that on any story where I knew the actual facts the media accounts were always wildly wrong, I simply stopped believing anything reported in the media.  Later, when I began to get interview requests from reporters, I discovered that they had no interest in anything I had to say.  Rather, they had already decided on their narrative and simply wanted quotes to support the story they had already decided to write.  If you don’t say what they want to hear, they lose interest immediately and go looking for another “source.”

    Fortunately, this does not preclude the possibility of being well-informed.  First, thanks to the web, it is usually possible to go to primary sources.  Almost everything the media reports is simply an inaccurate account of things that are available in their original form on the internet.  A speech.  A judicial decision.  An Executive Order.  A scientific study.  You can go to the original source, and get the facts.

    Second, there is what we might call the Murray Gell-Mann Translation effect.  Given a little experience with the media I think we develop a knack for identifying the ways they twist, distort, and exaggerate things, and from that we can extrapolate to the likely truth.  When the media outlet has a known bias, like Fox News or the NY Times, it is even easier to correct for that bias.

    • #10
  11. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    DialMforMurder:The post was a hard slog but your link to the earlier one you wrote was very fascinating, even though it’s four years old.

    I must confess that the slog was almost too hard. I usually go here for advice on how to write a great post ….

    This isn’t your doctoral dissertation. It’s the personal e-mail you dash off to your best friend after you see something in the news that just chaps your hide or leaves you convulsed with laughter. Go back and cut whatever you just wrote in half.

    • #11
  12. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    The glories of working in sports television the way I have is that we’re open about our whoring. We have no compulsion about slapping a sponsor on something and dropping marketing tag lines all over our “journalism.”

    This seems to be a case of trying to drive the news cycle. A single journalist can be dismissed as the ranting of a nut. Three make a “trend.” Four or more gives the imprimatur of legitimate news.

    It’s too ham-handed though. If the money man in this case really had an editor or publisher already in his pocket to insure publication of the commissioned stories he would have no need to contact the journalist. The editor would do the calling. The journalist wouldn’t know the difference and would have plausible deniability if the whole thing backfired.

    • #12
  13. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    EJHill:

    It’s too ham-handed though. If the money man in this case really had an editor or publisher already in his pocket to insure publication of the commissioned stories he would have no need to contact the journalist. The editor would do the calling. The journalist wouldn’t know the difference and would have plausible deniability if the whole thing backfired.

    Indeed, so I suspect this is good reason, actually, to put more faith in established news media. Systemic corruption is much harder to purchase than freelancers, at least in the US.

    • #13
  14. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    If the associate had simply said he agrees with your articles on the subject and would like to help you reach a wider audience, would there be a problem? Would you be worried about impropriety or the mere appearance of impropriety? Is it only the obscene amount of money that spoils it?

    Truly, this is fascinating. I’m old-fashioned enough to agree that intent matters and not just the action itself. But what if your intent is pure while the person promoting your work does so for other, possibly conflicting, reasons? I think many professional writers call that a Monday. We would all like to write just to share truth, but we do need money and we couldn’t widely share that truth without people focused on profit.

    Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a problem here. Presumably, this associate signed on with the interested party because of shared values. He genuinely does support the cause you write about. Is truthfully identifying advocates and opponents in the political sphere as you would prefer not to very different from being advised by an editor to add pictures and hyper-links, or use Google-friendly phrases, in an article to increase its profitability?

    Maybe I shouldn’t be Ricocheting before my first coffee.

    Anyway, one of the best aspects of Ricochet is that it is a forum where people who agree generally on the fundamentals vehemently disagree on everything else. So information is always balanced by a variety of sources from different circles of trust and different perspectives.

    Yes, I need coffee before entering the grinder.

    • #14
  15. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    I don’t think it started in 2007. I think it has always happened. It’s just that journos are poorer now and want to be paid for it.

    • #15
  16. Ball Diamond Ball Member
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I’m all for writing for pay, and for slanted journalism so long as biases are acknowledged.  Since I do not believe in any unslanted journalism (as in I do not believe it exists), I would like all “journalists” to state their positions and then be done with it.  The old days of newspapers owned by opinionated axe-grinders but right out in the open were not worse than today, to put it gently.

    I get the feeling that what the money man wanted was for Claire to sell her name, which is a commodity, rather than the text.  The payment would not have been attractive without the byline, no?  The difference between Claire and some hack is that Claire is known to have standards.  It’s the betrayal of standards that costs, not the product.

    I mean, I’ll write some tripe ad copy in the style of Ernest Hemingay if you want, but my name’s not going on it.  Yours is.

    • #16
  17. Ball Diamond Ball Member
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Skirts are shorter this year.  Last year’s skirts should be retired.  Those unaware will be caught out as the seasons change.  G0 to Solomon’s, half off with this ad.

    • #17
  18. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Let’s be honest. The thought that political journalists are paid to slant articles as they do is not as disturbing as the thought that they actually believe the dribble they write.

    Besides, I get the impression that writers whore themselves out for the esteem of colleagues and celebrities more often than they succumb to greed or desperation. DC attack dogs don’t generally need to offer money.

    • #18
  19. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I regard scientific research with similar skepticism. The majority of research is funded directly by crazed academics and indirectly by politicians and bureaucrats, or at best by corporations interested in product development.

    There are always biases involved. Like the Ball, I I just prefer those biases are laid bare. Prove your objectivity after admitting your interests.

    • #19
  20. Manfred Arcane Member
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Ms. B.,

    If you are having trouble getting out of that horrid writer’s cramp, just know we are always here for you.

    Regards,

    The Gang

    • #20
  21. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Columbo:

    I must confess that the slog was almost too hard.

    One more thing ….

    As a new guy I’m still feeling my way around the neighborhood. I have a wry (perhaps that is too kind of a word for it) sense of humor that can appear as often as a serious comment. I only shared my comment, and link to Claire’s great 11 tips which I have read and do follow, with complete admiration for her and Ricochet. The Claire that I imagine from reading her awesome daily conversations would have at least smiled at the post. If not, my sincerest of apologies.

    I am thrilled to be a Ricochetti due in large part to Claire Berlinsky herself. It is on my bucket list to meet her in person at some point.

    • #21
  22. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Once upon a time, I kept a game design blog that, after a few years, attracted some attention. When a major game publisher started including me in their press relations and sending me review copies, I admit that I was grateful and eager to like their products. Fortunately, half the products they sent were mediocre and I said so. But even that wasn’t enough to make me comfortable with the relationship while it was the only one I had. A competing publisher relationship would have set my mind at ease. As it was, the one company’s products were more frequently discussed on my blog simply because I was privy to more information about them.

    You’re probably your own worst critic, Claire. We all trust your bleeding heart.

    Anyway, your point about increasing temptations during impoverished circumstances is well taken. The deeper America’s troubles, the more skeptical we should be.

    • #22
  23. Sabrdance Member
    Sabrdance
    @Sabrdance

    Several years ago there was some famous -like really famous -grand don of DC journalism who got caught in one of these things.  I don’t remember who.  Robert Novak, maybe, or someone of similar stature.  So, yes, reporters or whores.  Well known, well established.  We still love you, it’s just that we don’t trust you.

    You want the Gell-Mann effect -I suspect most of us trust Claire, individually.  On the other hand, when we think she’s full of it, we aren’t shy about saying so, as our previous conversations on X indicate.

    And yes, this is why I get squeemish about the funding of the sciences, too.

    • #23
  24. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Aaron Miller:If the associate had simply said he agrees with your articles on the subject and would like to help you reach a wider audience, would there be a problem?

    No, I’d have said, “Do feel free to share my work on Facebook and Twitter.” It’s the request that I create a new version of it and not be upfront about where the funding comes from that’s morally problematic. I wouldn’t have a problem if we agreed that the byline would read, “SuperPAC Q or Foreign Government W generously paid me to write this article.” But leaving that out — when I know it to be true and relevant — amounts to deliberate deception of the reader.

    Would you be worried about impropriety or the mere appearance of impropriety?

    The impropriety.

    Is it only the obscene amount of money that spoils it?

    It’s the deception.

    Truly, this is fascinating. I’m old-fashioned enough to agree that intent matters and not just the action itself. But what if your intent is pure while the person promoting your work does so for other, possibly conflicting, reasons?

    I can’t control that. Though I’ve tormented myself about it happening. (But knowing how some things get spun, I do hold myself responsible for writing things in a way that makes it as hard as possible for people I hate to spin them in ways I hate.)

    I think many professional writers call that a Monday. We would all like to write just to share truth, but we do need money and we couldn’t widely share that truth without people focused on profit.

    That’s true, but I write for institutions/people that are reasonably transparent about their business model, and I don’t think my readers would be surprised if they knew the truth about how I earned the money. You’d be surprised if it turned out I was being paid to dislike Donald Trump by the Clinton Foundation — even if it’s true that I independently dislike Donald Trump.

    Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a problem here.

    I am. See my example above. That would be a problem, no?

    Presumably, this associate signed on with the interested party because of shared values. He genuinely does support the cause you write about. Is truthfully identifying advocates and opponents in the political sphere as you would prefer not to very different from being advised by an editor to add pictures and hyper-links, or use Google-friendly phrases, in an article to increase its profitability?

    Yes, because you know all of that happens and we don’t keep it “confidential.”

    Maybe I shouldn’t be Ricocheting before my first coffee.

    Anyway, one of the best aspects of Ricochet is that it is a forum where people who agree generally on the fundamentals vehemently disagree on everything else. So information is always balanced by a variety of sources from different circles of trust and different perspectives.

    Yes, I need coffee before entering the grinder.

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    If the subject the acquaintance wanted  you to write on was “corruption,” this would be an O. Henry story and I would never stop giggling.

    So don’t tell us if it was or wasn’t.  I like it this way. Ambiguity has a charm all its own.

    • #25
  26. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I didn’t know about the Amnesia Effect, but now that I do, I will be more aware of it – that Claire, is a sad story – you want to keep believing in people, then get your teeth kicked in.  Even if it was just an acquaintance, it still exposes more dirty layers just when you would like to think there’s a few clean onions in the bag.  Quick thoughts:

    1. You do your profession the highest honor by writing this story (and other stories).
    2. You may want to look into finding a part-time teaching gig on History (I believe you once said that you would like to teach it) – it is time for the ethical to be teaching this generation the basics because they believe the media.
    3. In my prayers, I say a special prayer for the Watchmen on the Wall – those in the world that see the big picture, and talk about it, warn about it, and I include you. This battle of good and evil is ramping up – So don’t be surprised if more temptations come your way to trip you up – just be on guard.    Great story and thanks!
    • #26
  27. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Columbo:

    Columbo:

    I must confess that the slog was almost too hard.

    One more thing ….

    As a new guy I’m still feeling my way around the neighborhood. I have a wry (perhaps that is too kind of a word for it) sense of humor that can appear as often as a serious comment. I only shared my comment, and link to Claire’s great 11 tips which I have read and do follow, with complete admiration for her and Ricochet. The Claire that I imagine from reading her awesome daily conversations would have at least smiled at the post. If not, my sincerest of apologies.

    I am thrilled to be a Ricochetti due in large part to Claire Berlinsky herself. It is on my bucket list to meet her in person at some point.

    Welcome to the neighborhood – I like your name and picture! You are in good company for wry sense of humor – sometimes it’s the best part of reading this site! Don’t forget to sign up for the Daily Shot and you’ll see what I mean.

    • #27
  28. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    Ball Diamond Ball:I mean, I’ll write some tripe ad copy in the style of Ernest Hemingay if you want…

    Is that a typo or the pseudonym of a homosexual novelist I haven’t heard of?

    …but my name’s not going on it. Yours is.

    Please don’t put my name on a Hemingay story. Maybe a Herman Smellville story, but not a Hemingay.

    • #28
  29. N.M. Wiedemer Member
    N.M. Wiedemer
    @NMWiedemer

    please delete. Apologies, wrong thread!

    • #29
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Front Seat Cat:

    • In my prayers, I say a special prayer for the Watchmen on the Wall – those in the world that see the big picture, and talk about it, warn about it, and I include you.

    Thank you, FSC. I’m grateful for that.

    • #30

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