Once I was watching the nightly news with my parents. The anchor had been teasing a story about a new breakthrough in paleontology before each commercial break, and since I was fascinated by all things paleontological I kept on watching through all the boring political and economic stuff until the end of the broadcast.
Finally the anchor turned to the new discovery I had been awaiting. I do not recall the contents of the news story, I only remember my shocked reaction: everything the anchor said was wrong. The touted discoveries were not new, they were old. Her explanation was confused, betraying a basic ignorance of the subject matter. For the first time in my life I realized that things they tell you on TV are not necessarily true.
I was eleven years old, and back then I knew more about paleontology than a grown-up who is paid to know things. (Sadly, I have long since forgotten most of my knowledge of paleontology)
By the time I was thirteen I noticed a pattern: every time I read an article or saw a newscast concerning a subject with which I was familiar, the reporter got it all wrong. Sure, sometimes it was simply a matter of the reporter having a different perspective than me, but too often the journalist just did not know what he was talking about.
Thus I formed my basic perspective on all things related to journalism: if every time they report on a subject with which I am familiar I can clearly see that they are wrong, I should also assume they are wrong when they report on subjects with which I am unfamiliar.
What on earth do you study in four years of journalism school? Is it expecting too much to think that journalists should be generally educated? is it any wonder that newspapers and cable news stations are bleeding money?