September 10, 2018


A Houston Chronicle reporter has resigned after questions arose about the existence of persons quoted in one of his stories.

Austin bureau reporter Mike Ward had been with the Chronicle since 2014 after a long career with the Austin American-Statesman.

In a statement posted Monday on the Chronicle website, Executive Editor Nancy Barnes wrote that another Chronicle reporter raised questions about whether persons quoted in one of Ward’s stories existed.

As the late Michael Crichton wrote:

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.

Layers and layers of fact checkers and editors.

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