The best accountant I ever worked with would be able to look at a column of figures and say if something was wrong. Call it intuition if you want, but it was born of years of looking at figures. It was he who taught me what a 'made up' number looked like in an expenses claim. No-one made up a figure of round pounds and they never went forwards always backwards, he said. An odd 90p or 99p or any number ending with 9p made the fraudster think they were going to be spotted and a double number looked wrong so 88p wasn't used. Thus it was that a cheat trying to claim a dodgy £10 would often claim £9.87. So £9.87 appeared on expenses claims more regularly than it should and 'looked wrong.' So it got checked.
Likewise an editor I worked with would see a double space in the middle of two sides of solid A4 or a duplicated word without having to read the whole document. His experience helped him to know what the sheet should look like.
And so it was when I heard the news last Thursday that the Archbishop of Canterbury had called for Sharia law to make its 'inevitable' debut in this country the words sounded wrong. He's too clever to have said that. He would never have said that in isolation.
Whilst I rarely get over-excited about irresponsible journalism I do so now. Four days of argument over something he didn't say. People contributing to the debate before reading what he said. It's a disgrace and nothing less.
More on this later.