There’s a sort-of-tangential argument to this, that essentially says, “Look at any news story in your area of expertise. How many things did they get wrong? Why are you trusting them for areas in which you are NOT an expert?”
I am a biologist, but not a health-sciences person, so I have to remind myself of that regularly every time the scare stories like EATING EVEN ONE EGG A WEEK CAN KILL YOU comes out. (The newest one: apparently if you’ve ever even been in the same room as a TV, you’re at greatly increased risk for a blood-clot. As opposed to, I suppose, hunter-gatherer types who are walking 12 hours a day and eat only wild plants and grubs….)
fillyjonk: That’s the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. It was well-described by Michael Crichton… basically, you see something written in your area of knowledge that has tons of basic errors, laugh at how awful it is, then turn the page and read something outside your area of knowledge and believe it without hesitation. But why would the papers be more reliable about that topic?
It’s easier to see in movies… explosions make noise in space, fistfights last ten minutes and feature multiple heavy blows to the head and face that are just shrugged off – we laugh at that and then immediately think that when they try to insert real-world “facts” and “history” that those things are 100% accurate. They barely know how to set up a chessboard correctly on screen, but they’re experts on geopolitics!