A Post review of Maliszewski's book Fakers:
Joey Skaggs … adds that "my experience has shown me that most journalists don't want to screw up a good story with reality, and they will talk themselves out of questioning the story to death." As the saying goes, some stories are too good to check. What fakers do, then, is simplify complexities; they feed our secret prejudices and beliefs. … Fake newspaper articles … tell us the stories we want to hear, rather than the stories that are really out there. As a result, emphasizes Maliszewski, they damage serious work, for "there are articles — real articles, these, about true subjects — that cannot be easily written or are not practical to publish simply because they don't fit one of the accepted forms."
In news, social science, and fiction consumers mainly want more vivid impressive detail to support pre-existing abstract conclusions. To produce as much as possible, ambitious writers must be as sloppy as they can get away with. Since news that challenges prior abstract conclusions is scrutinized more carefully, the ambitious prefer to avoid such scrutiny by avoiding abstractly-surprising news, unless it gets enough other rewards, which is rare. And given this situation, writing about such costly news becomes a sign that you are not ambitious, and should be avoided. These career pressures probably explain most conformity in such areas; no stronger conformity pressures are needed.
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