Serious Scholarship

I am quoted in the print version of the Red Eye story linked here. The story is about court tv shows (like Law and Order, Ally MacBeal, the Practice) and they asked me if these shows are accurate. I said, “no, but the more interesting thing is that people think they are accurate and that leads to different expectations when people enter courts as jurors, plaintiffs, or defendants.” As evidence of my irrelevance, my (interesting) answer is in a little text box that does not make it into the electronic article. But the oh-so-interesting question of what shows practicing lawyers watch is available on-line. Am I really that boring? Or is it my punishment for telling the reporter what the more interesting question is/was?

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One Response to Serious Scholarship

  1. vickywoeste says:

    LB, my experience with the press, as shabby as it is, for what it’s worth: if you as the “expert” fail to answer their queries in a way that reinforces their pre-existing assumptions about the world, then you don’t fit into the narrative they want to write.

    I had a friend, a geologist at Amherst College, who once had the honor (?) of sitting at a dinner with Paula Zahn when she was at CNN. This was in the early 1990s when there were a lot of earthquakes and lots of people dying. When Paula found out that my friend was a geologist, she was all eager to know: why are earthquakes happening so often now? Is it because the earth becoming more unstable? No, my friend sagely replied; it’s became people are moving to places where earthquakes have always happened, and so earthquakes are now more lethal because people aren’t prepared for the devastation they cause. As soon as my friend gave the counter-intuitive narrative to Zahn’s preconceived thesis, Zahn tuned her out. My friend said she could tell when her eyes glazed over and she stopped listening to the expert at the table who knew anything at all about the subject.

    So ever since I’ve been less than sanguine about what the press really wants from academics . . .

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