Bob, it took me about 3 years to stop feeling like an anthropology doctoral student parachuted into the Amazon to observe a tribe that had no previous contact with the outside world. That wasn’t so much a media misdepiction, as much as the complete absence of any sort of information. I had absolutely no idea that any branch of government even did what my department does.
Students aren’t the only ones unaware of how the bureaucratic side of government works. Take a gander at transcripts from various Parliamentary or Congressional committee hearings, when bureaucrats appear before them. You can often find yourself aghast at how little knowledge those elected officials have about the inner workings of that which they pass judgment on. They’re not idiots, but they certainly are underinformed.
(if you run into Paul Thomas while in “the Peg”, say hi from me)