Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quote Of The Day

This comment, lifted from Illy-T's blog, really hit home in light of a couple of pieces from Rick Esenberg which I  had to correct:
The trend seems to be for an "expert" to make public statements about the content of the law that are inaccurate. The purpose of the statement is not accuracy, however, but rather to influence public opinion.

Most news readers tend to react to new information and arrive at an opinion about that information rather quickly. These first impressions in the minds of readers are "sticky," and readers will rarely revise their initial opinion even if later legal proceedings (or the lack thereof) demonstrate that the original source of the information was wrong. The latest political science research on the way that our minds form opinions demonstrates that it is first impressions that counts.

It is not surprising that those who wish to influence public opinion might adopt these "quick hit" tactics. What is surprising is that a major media corporation is apparently either ignorant of these tactics or else views itself as under no obligation to push back.

Perhaps one response (admittedly imperfect) might be if the State Bar were to discipline or rebuke any lawyers who make obviously reckless mistatements about what is or isn't fraud, or about what the law is generally. In paragraph 6, the preamble to Chapter SCR 20 states that all lawyers "should further the public's understanding of and confidence in the rule of law." Playing games designed to influence public opinion would seem to be inconsistent with the obligation of furthering the public's understanding of the law.

Apparently the prospect of shame or ridicule is not sufficient to deter some people.
'Nuff said.

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