Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

This is a good example of why specialists shouldn't talk to the media. Generally, the interests of (for example) the New York Times are opposed to the interests of (for example) a particle physicist. The incentive structure of mainstream dead-tree media is aligned against producing accurate summaries of specialized information. There are some good parts and some bad parts to this. The bad parts, though, are sufficiently bad that if manipulating the media isn't your actual job, you're probably better off outsourcing that task to a trusted third party. This is basically the same as talking to lawyers and the police: they will lie to you. There will always be some technical exception so that they can tell themselves and the people higher in their authority structure that they weren't really lying, but no, from the perspective of a layperson, they're liars. They lie all the time. So you need to either be the sort of person who can cope with that and tell them the lies in return that will get something resembling your actual views and statements into their publication, or you need a specialist - just like with talking to lawyers - on your side to do that job for you.

Never count on a reporter to act in good faith any more than you would count on that from the police or from a lawyer. They will disembowel you.

This advice is much less applicable, happily, to technical publications in your field, or to 'citizen journalism,' but you still have to be cautious there. The major difference is that with technical publications or citizen journalists, you may have some actual leverage, and they may have some idea what you're talking about. You have no leverage, as a specialist, over the NYT, so they don't care what harm they do to you - what the heck are you going to do to them? And the average reporter for, say, Fox News, doesn't know what the heck, say, Bruce Schneier is talking about. They are worse than laypeople, actually, because they have an incentive to misunderstand.

Don't talk to the mainstream media. They will lie to you, and they are not your friends.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: