. . . and therefore am unlikely to start.

The first is Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech, by Craig Silverman (Union Square Press). The second’s The Big Picture: Why Democracies Need Journalistic Excellence, by Jeffrey Scheuer  (Routledge). Silverman has written what ought to be a perfect back-of-the-toilet house gift — a weightless collection of those fatuous corrections and clarifications newspapers like to run. But the subtitle promises a lot of hysterical theorizing, Silverman apparently delivers, and a novelty book that should quit after 100 pages instead runs over 350. 

With Scheuer’s book, again it’s the subtitle that’s chasing me off. “Why democracies need journalistic excellence” is a topic roughly on a par with “Why plants need water.” It’s not a case that needs to be made, not to me, and the more earnestly and ingeniously Scheuer argues for journalism the sillier I’m going to think he sounds. But maybe there’s an audience somewhere ready to whistle, “Democracy? Journalism? Wow, I never made the connection before!”