Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wanting to believe

What does the Nasdaq bubble and the tragic error in reporting the condition of the trapped miners have in common? They are both examples of what can happen when the wish to believe overpowers sober reflection of and patience in obtaining the necessary evidence. In my view, the real onus to get the story right rests on the teller of the tale, particularly with respect to the families of the miners.

This is not, I believe, an uncommon phenomenon. What seems uncommon is for the hard evidence to the contrary to be found so quickly. What a tragedy.

Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the massage" and in this case, and others, the massage exemplifies, nay, generates Baudrillard's simulacrum. Yet to all things there are limits as the myth of Daedelus and Icarus warns, though perhaps the boy who cried wolf might be more apt. I wonder how many stories the mass media can get very wrong in a short period of time before the public turns it off.

thin ice