Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Through a glass darkly

A timeline over at Pajamas Media details how the elation over the supposed discovery of 12 survivors in a West Virginia coal mine turned by stages into anger and then retrospection. One snippet.

Anklebiting Pundits: In what is nothing short of miraculous, the 12 trapped West Virginia miners have been found alive. -- 04 January 2006 00:22:49 EST

Tommyville: I, Like many americans watched with great elation as the news channels reported that despite the odds, 12 miners were found alive from the trapped mine in West Virginia..and now, several hours later it appears those reports are untrue. Only one has survived. Here are some questions to watch in the following days: If the officials present knew the rumor was false only 20 minutes or so later, why did they wait hours to notify the families? -- 04 January 2006 03:36:00 EST

JCL's Super Fun Happy Blog:  Well, at first the mass media was saying 12 of the miners in the West Virgina mine explosions were found alive. Ooops. Turns out 12 of the 13 miners are dead and there was an erroneous report. See, this is why live news channels like CNN and the like is a joke. It's not about the stories, the events or the people involved but all about who is the first to break the story for ratings and advertising. It's not about reporting or journalism anymore. The so called media is a joke in general terms. I know some of you will be thinking "you're not a reporter, so what do you know?" -- 04 January 2006 04:01: 00 EST


I'll reproduce a comment I made over at Tigerhawk's forum on journalistic ethics, which was asking 'how can we make the news better', because it eerily touches on this very matter.

In some ways these proposals remind me of merge replication, where you are trying insert new records in a table at the same time others may have modified it, having regard to a data sources reliability and integrity. The example of flagging an editorial when it does a policy 180 degree turn is a case in point. What is attempted here is to keep the knowledge base coherent, to ensure that it is not corrupted or infest with unrecognized internal contradictions. If these must be endured, then the idea is, flag it. One of the key problems of course, is the structure of the knowledge itself. It's freeform text and as such, it's hard to tell, even from the point of view of a newspaper itself, just what it's saying in a compressed way. Guarding such an amorphous store from contradiction is hard.

Maybe there's a better chance of maintaining data integrity, at least as to source, by making reporters go through the sensible checklist that Tigerhawk provides. My only suggestion is that a way be found to ensure collateral confirmation. Many stories are actually single point sourced at the start of their lives. Example: Italian hostage kidnapped in Gaza. The hope is that with the passage of hours and the descent of more journalists the initial story can be confirmed. But when a story doesn't last long enough to be additionally confirmed, it simply flashes past and enters the record, sits there forever in the archives, an event resting on the slenderest of supports. Sometimes, in taking a backfix, we belatedly realize that an old story probably wasn't true since it has been contradicted or at least made implausible by subsequent developments. One example that comes to mind were some of the New Orleans disaster stories. But there's no way to go back and revise the archival story, and it would be Orwellian to try. But if we were to think of a state of knowledge as consisting of the present estimate of the true narrative of an event, it would not be wrong to discount a past error. Historians do this all the time. They don't revise the source but they discount some of it, like the story, widely believed then, that the IJN battleship Kongo was sunk in 1942. If you were writing history today, you would not claim this.

There's no reason to suppose that the media consciously spread an incorrect story about the survival of the miners. They made a decision to publish under conditions of imperfect information and they made an honest mistake.

A monograph about decision making under uncertainty describes how there is a state of true knowledge about the world and belief model that we form about this world. "A common distinction between knowledge and belief is that knowledge is simply that which is true in the world, while beliefs are an agent’s understanding about the world. Therefore, an agent can believe something that is false, but it cannot know that something is, for example, true, when in fact that thing is not true." The paper goes on to argue that the best way to build a belief system out of the available information is to go through a process of detection, measurement and interpretation. But in the end you can never know that you know. Worse, in many situations the requirement for action is front-loaded: the most important actions occur in the initial moments, at a time when our information is most imperfect.

One safeguard is to conduct sanity checks, which helps but not as much as one would hope. The Principle of Limited Reduction ... "states that relying on analytical behavior to reduce complexity introduces new sources of uncertainty and this requires experimental countermeasures. Correspondingly, relying on experimental behavior to reduce uncertainty introduces new sources of complexity requiring analytical countermeasures." In other words, sanity checks may themselves introduce error because in confirming measurements against our belief systems or our belief systems against measurements we are still left with the possibility of error.

Tough, but there's no escape from it.  Imagine a hypothetical situation in which an Air Defense officer receives a report on September 11, 2001 that a hijacked airliner is heading for New York City. The information, in it's initial state, is single-sourced, but the aircraft in question will be over Manhattan in fifteen minutes. What should he do?


Blogger wretchard said...

This is one of those situations where the absurdity of post-modernism becomes painfully evident. The real goal of intellectual endeavor must surely be to better understand "true knowledge" and align our belief systems to it, rather than assert that "one narrative is as good as another" or that all belief systems are equal. If this were so, why should anyone care whether the news stories were accurate or not?

1/04/2006 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

What the Air Defense Officer might do in that situation would be more predictable if it were September 12. On September 11 the concept of "hijacking" was fairly clearly understood and I imagine there were protocols to deal with potential hijackers etc. But after September 11, all bets were off and the usual way of dealing with such situation (if there was one) would be changed.

1/04/2006 04:25:00 AM  
Blogger Dr. Sanity said...

Postmodernism is basically a philosophy of nihilism when it comes to actually doing anything or taking any action. It is sort of an extension to the saying "in the long-run we're all dead" by applying it to the short-run, too.

1/04/2006 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger anonymouscoameq said...

And bloggers can't claim superiorty to the msm when they spread the same false reports. So why are they so quick to criticize the msm?

1/04/2006 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

JCL's Super Fun Happy Blog seems to have kicked the MSM without good reason.
(at least that's how it appears to me at this time)
Sometimes even they are excused by circumstances.
"Though the governor announced that there were 12 survivors, he later indicated he was uncertain about the news."
-ABC News

1/04/2006 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger Six Fingers Louis said...


I have been reading this blog for a while but never posted before.

"There's no reason to suppose that the media consciously spread an incorrect story about the survival of the miners."

I only caught that particular story briefly on TV here is Australia, and I may not be entirely on the ball as I was not paying too close attention. SBS ran the 12 survived version, ABC ran the 12 did not, half an hour later. But the SBS version, as far as I could tell, had footage of the relieved relatives hugging the recently freed miners and so on. Church services where people where giving praise for the lucky escape. If my memory serves me correctly then this implies a bit more than an innocent mistake, it suggests splicing narrative onto images that are wholly unconnected in an attempt to make the 5 minute segment. Is this what happened in the US?
This is probably not deliberate deception but there are an awful lot of obviously posed/acted moments that seem to be creeping into the press these days. Some of them so blatant and yet seemingly acceptable: the professor at his desk answering the phone and reading some wordy tome as footage during the interview. That is not real, he is acting and usually very badly. Pure theatre. But how often do you see it.

1/04/2006 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger Esbiem said...

Very illuminating. The concept of second guessing ourselves (the media) to double check the facts before releasing a headline can in turn create additional untruths, answers the debate we at elgityrell dot com were having with the wife this morning after cheering the good news only to be saddened by the reality. I could speculate on how the wrong conclusions were reached and propagated this morning about the fate of the miners, but the media acted as they are expected to act, though the truth is usually somewhere beneath the surface they report on what bubbles up to the top, moment by moment. The "truth" is as stable as the sands on a wind swept beach.

1/04/2006 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger EddieP said...

"There's no reason to suppose that the media consciously spread an incorrect story about the survival of the miners."

I can't agree. The media was on the ground for 40 hours before the false reports were spread. Certainly thay had plenty of time to line up officials with authority to confirm or deny the reports. Why no caveats? I say it is another giant MSM screw up.

1/04/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...


I disagree.

The most consequential fact check that should have been made was to confirm with the mine company.

And that wasn't done. Instead the news media organizations all depended on rumor. Hardly something to praise.

1/04/2006 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Mannning said...

There has been a long-standing rule about reports, rumors, and first-hand accounts: I believe it is called the 72-hour rule. Most reports are confirmed or denied, and amplified within that 72 hours, so if you aren't forced to act instantly, be prepared to wait it out till the truth, or a better approximation, appears.

Why we insist upon instant gratification of accuracy and completeness in reporting is driven mainly by the MSM's need to scoop (or at least not be scooped by) the competition). Take that factor out, and you can easily hold fast till clarity comes.

1/04/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Wasn't it Socrates who gave us the allegory of a person chained in place at the rear of a cave, seeing only the wall at the back, and the shadows cast thereon?

Welcome, Wretchard. Pull up a wall, and enjoy the view, partial view, and narrators narrating the view, for fun and for money.

Those who do it for love of truth or love of service to mankind, produce significantly accurate descriptions of the shadows caught moving across our field of view.

Those who do it from a desire to twist others' understanding of or faith in their perceptions of the shadows cast into their field of view, are not scarce, and are anxiously entering an era of accountability, as SOME chained-cave-dwellers have access to the Internet!

1/04/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

When incidents such as the one with the miners occur I always recall my investigation of an F-105 problem. I made three phone calls to a nearby F-105 unit and got three mutually exclusive answers. This in a unit that had perhaps 60 people on duty at the time. Even worse, in all probability none of the answers was correct.
On another occasion, while I was in the Pentagon, after a space launch we discovered an absolutely incredible series of events which appeared to be related and which appeared to be verified. The reality was much more mundane. Our initial conclusions were based on rumors and fears as well as logical but incorrect interpretation of correct but irrelevant data. The false scenario we devised was, as one officer put it, straight out of a Tom Clancy novel. Had it occurred during an international crisis rather than the day we were signing a new arms reduction treaty the results could have been ... interesting.
What is incredible is not only the way in which false data is accepted and spread initially but the manner in which it lives on for years thereafter. The Internet has made this worse, not better.

1/04/2006 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Having served in many US Army command posts -- our rule of thumb remained, "First reports are never accurate, wait for the details."

1/04/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Old Dad said...

Remember playing "telephone" as a kid? Looks like it was no game. Apparently a family member overheard and misconstrued a cell phone call.

The good but false news literally spread like wildfire.

What's a reporter to do? Shut up until he knows he's right.

1/04/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Evidently this phenomenon of spreading rumors (unsubstantiated history of events) is pretty important. It could even end up getting folks killed under circumstances. Could be that is the reason it's addressed in Mosaic Law - bearing false witness.

So who are we to believe?

It can't be said that trust is prevenient. More neutral than taken as a given without experience.

So why should we accept anything stated as fact without first verifying the account?

Indeed, why should we accept as truth, anything purported by an entity already exposed as an unreliable source?

1/04/2006 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

To answer anonymouscoameq's question, W (a blogger) didn't 'criticize' the media. In my reading of his post he is merely reasonably discussing the why's and wherefore's of why such an error can be made.

OTH, when a major news provider (who brags about researching its work output) blows it on a story which has been days in preparation - and the failure is directly attributable to lack of adequate research - to not comment or criticize that specific failure to maintain professional standards makes absolutely no societal sense at all!

Get real!

1/04/2006 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Old Dad said...

Dr. Sanity said...

"Postmodernism is basically a philosophy of nihilism when it comes to actually doing anything or taking any action."

I think pomo in practice is even more subversive. It argues epistemelogical nihilism, and quite effectively. But postmodernists aren't chastened and humbled by the argument. They are emboldened. Everything is a power play conducted through manipulation. Rathergate anyone?

The gruesome reality of Sago, as Wretchard comments above, is indisputable but very hard to articulate.

1/04/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Tristram said...

Via, Roger L. Simon, I got to the transcript of a speech by the writer Michael Crichton (Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century. What is interesting in that speech is a discussion of the predictions and the actual results of the Chernobyl meltdown. The money quote (for me at least) is:

But most troubling of all, according to the UN report in 2005, is that "the largest public health problem created by the accident" is the "damaging psychological impact [due] to a lack of accurate information…[manifesting] as negative self-assessments of health, belief in a shortened life expectancy, lack of initiative, and dependency on assistance from the state."

In other words, the greatest damage to the people of Chernobyl was caused by bad information. These people weren’t blighted by radiation so much as by terrifying but false information. We ought to ponder, for a minute, exactly what that implies. We demand strict controls on radiation because it is such a health hazard. But Chernobyl suggests that false information can be a health hazard as damaging as radiation. I am not saying radiation is not a threat. I am not saying Chernobyl was not a genuinely serious event.

Of course, it is not possible to erase the the effect of believing bad info (selling/buying stocks on tips is another example). The intent of the person giving the information, however is irrelevant.

Given the real costs in health, life, money, etc., from bad info, from an econmics sense, there should be a cost on the info propagators. And the frustration that I and many people have is the LACK of that cost. And this mining and reporting disaster makes this ever so much more poignant.

1/04/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I am reminded of Schrödinger’s Cat. At some point both stories remained true. When the box was finally opened, the cat was dead.

The internet is a fickle tool, I use it sometimes to check for phrases or spellings of arcane things, but if I am apt to misspell or use a misnomer, I am just as likely going find it the same during a Google search. The results I find reinforce my error, because I am not the only one to have erred, and it is at once entered into the record as a mistruth and is forever promulgated as such. This bullsh*t reinforcing bullsh*t will only grow. It is human nature and the day of the priests canonizing perception are, thankfully, long gone.

We have all become our own unwitting intelligence analysts. One cynically parses through the copious data and the picture emerges like a Gestalt after the same information has been corroborated or refreshed so many time that its’ reality remains immutable. Where the Blogs have been unreliable, the MSM has been worse, and, due to the profit and political motives, immediately suspect.

A false report can ruin a companies stock and earnings. A false report can ruin a Politian’s career when it is filed just days before an election. Newsweek recently published an article stating that bloggers were frequently outright evil. I wonder what they would call their own pap.

1/04/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Tommyville asks: "If the officials present knew the rumor was false only 20 minutes or so later, why did they wait hours to notify the families?"

Perhaps because the company was still trying to rescue the miners for the three hour ‘delay’ implied by the media spin?

The assumption which underpins media's attempt to make a soap opera demon of the mining company -- that the company knew the miners were dead and withheld this information for three hours, more than two hours after bogus rumors circulated -- is unsupported.

Second, was the mining company —- in the middle of a life and death rescue operation —- responsible for straightening out media inaccuracies?

1/04/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...


I spent around a month researching and then writing up a analysis of the media coverage of the looting of the Iraq National Museum after the fall of Saddam.

I discovered that all of the reporters used the SAME source for their articles and that source turned out to be completely unreliable, another example of a single-source story gone wrong.

This is from the conclusion to my article "Iraq Antiquities Revisited (with Endnotes)."

If there were one mistake that overshadowed all the others it would have to be using Nabhal Amin as a reliable witness when, in fact, she no longer worked for the museum complex. John F. Burns, Paul McGeough, Hamza Hendawi, and Hassan Hafidh had neither the time nor resources -- or perhaps even the inclination -- to verify her claim of identity and position.

So I am not surprised at all by the botched coverage of the mine disaster.


1/04/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...was the mining company —- in the middle of a life and death rescue operation —- responsible for straightening out media inaccuracies?

Yes, they had a moral responsibility to the families, if not to the media, to ASAP put the kibosh on what they obviously knew immediately was an inaccurate report. Waiting three hours was an appalling combination of hopeful wishful thinking, and cowardice.

But then, you don't get Rudy Guiliani running a mining company in West Virginia, do you? (Although Cooper Anderson is supposed to be "world class" and after Katrina should KNOW better by now.)

1/04/2006 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Imagine a hypothetical situation in which an Air Defense officer receives a report on September 11, 2001 that a hijacked airliner is heading for New York City.

Or let's imagine an air traffic controller watching a screen on which the image of that same airliner reaches NYC and disappears. And still there are other travelling dots, one of which by its trajectory and speed looks to intercept in another fifteen minutes or so a point near where the first disappeared.

In the meantime the occupants of a tower next to one which has been struck by that first airliner are told by authorities at the scene to stay put, for there is no danger apparent to them.

It would be interesting to know the mind of our air traffic controller during these intervening minutes. How long did it take to understand what had just happened? How long to deduce what might happen next? And what could a person confronted by these converging dots on a dimly-lit glass screen realistically be expected to do in that situation other than sit and watch, helpless to influence the course of these strange trajectories--for wouldn't the mind naturally rebel against the thought that these were all malevolent projectiles which needed to be destroyed?

Still, it's strange to think that the threat didn't seem to register until the second plane hit.

And yet somehow, by some instinct, the occupants of the other tower had already decided to get out.

1/04/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

jeffrey wrote:

"I discovered that all of the reporters used the SAME source for their articles and that source turned out to be completely unreliable,"

hmmm, sounds suspiciously familiar to how the "intelligence" was gathered to support the Iraq invasion.

1/04/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

"That is not real, he is acting and usually very badly. Pure theatre. But how often do you see it."

MSM = Entertainment at its worst.

Mark Steyn once critisized George Bush's rejoinder to a reporter, who demanded to know if W knew who the president of trashcanistan was. W responded with "No, do YOU?"

Wrong question, argued Steyn.

W should have asked a question more appropriate to a celebrity/entertainer/show biz personality. Politics, after all, are not within their domain of knowledge. Bush's response SHOULD have been:

"No. But do YOU know who played the Captain on Gilligan's Island?"

1/04/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger tim maguire said...

I'm having trouble understanding the relevance of the air defense analogy. Were the miners plotting to blow up the World Trade Center? Was there reason to think they might be? Was it the media's job to stop them?

Wretchard's point is probably right as a general matter, but not here. This is a story that could have been easily checked and there was no rush other then to get headlines. All the media had to do to not screw this up was to care about gettng the story right. But they didn't.

Actual malice isn't necessary. Indifference is enough.

1/04/2006 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...


hmmm, sounds suspiciously familiar to how the "intelligence" was gathered to support the Iraq invasion.

My article simply suggests that all the reporters who arrived at the Iraq National Museum used the same single source, Ms. Amin, who said she worked for the museum and that ALL the antiquities had been looted. The reporters salivated over an amazingly good scoop and failed to verify her claims or her position. It later -- much later -- surfaced that she had ONCE been an employee but hadn't worked there for years and thus was not privy to all of the precautions that had already been taken and had simply been living in the neighborhood at the time.

Certainly it is ludicrous to compare this single-source story with the expert testimony of every intelligence apparatus for all the major countries in the world who concurred that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

If you are suggesting that the WMD-story is also single source, I ask you who that single source is.

For the story of the National Iraq Museum, it was Ms. Nabhal Amin.

And your single source?


1/04/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Does anyone recall last year's tsunami? On that occasion several thousand, maybe tens of thousands of people could have been saved if news about the giant wave had been disseminated. I had the air defense analogy in mind when I made the comparison. It's not strictly comparable, but the logic of the news business is to get out with the stories first. Much of the time they get it wrong. And most of the time it's ignored and simply enters the archives. Corruption in history.

I think the process which went into creating the mining reportage fiasco is pretty widespread. Breaking news is often wrong. It was just obvious this time.

1/04/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

But that doesn't mean it was intentional. The Press went through a lot of backflips to suggest the CIA and British intelligence misled everyone about WMDs in Iraq. But in both the mining and WMD cases, something was wrong with the system. It don't think someone sat down and said 'how do we fake this story?'.

In fact the most frightening part of this miner story is how the false report acquired more and more legitimacy in the hours before it was exploded as inaccurate. Very few people expressed doubts that 12 miners should be found alive and well in a poison-gas environment. It was possible, but when you think about it, a little unlikely.

1/04/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The other factor is that we wanted -- I wanted -- so much to believe the miners were saved. I was in tears of joy when I read the story, and there figurative peals of joy ringing out on the message board. The happiness was so great I didn't bother to look under the wrapper.

I realized later that if the press had said 12 children had been tortured the CIA in Iraq I'd be looking at the story with more critical eyes, and rightly so. But I was disarmed by happiness and relief.

1/04/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...


I think the process which went into creating the mining reportage fiasco is pretty widespread. Breaking news is often wrong. It was just obvious this time.

I agree with you. In my research on the looting of the Iraq National Museum, I learned that there were deep-seated structural features to the entire news business that made getting the story wrong quite simple. And when, for example, an AP writer gets the story wrong by using a bad single source, then that story is megaphoned all over the world.

Still, in the case of the Iraq National Museum, I learned that some reporters will use the structural weaknesses to push their agenda. While John F. Burns was mostly even-handed, the Australian journalist Paul McGeough was professionally irresponsible when, in his articles, likened the American forces to marauding Huns.


1/04/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Ignatius, my interpretation is that perceptions are molded by our belief systems, or desires.

The example suggests, as well, that misunderstanding and confusion often attach to the moment and so our understanding is usually better in hindsight.

1/04/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Soon after TWA flight 800 plummeted from 13.7 thousand feet into the ocean, the MSM reporters blathered on for hours how survivors may be swimming around awaiting rescue. Hand a microphone to somebody, point a camera at them, and watch them do the ‘ol soft-shoe in realtime.

1/04/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...


THe current state of MSM fact checking was set into motion when libel laws pertaining to public officials were change from "Printing something false" to "knowingly printing something false". Ignornace of the actual truth was introduced as a defense.

Fact checking
A) Costs money
B) Exposes the publisher to potential liability
C) Takes time, which gives less responsable journalists an edge on "time to market"

It is a race to the bottom.

1/04/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"And yet somehow, by some instinct, the occupants of the other tower had already decided to get out. "
Many deaths were averted by the finely tuned instincts of heros like Rescola and Oneill.
Rescola knew the place and the situation like the back of his hand, and when the PA System was telling people to stay put, he said:
"Get the Hell Out!"
I still marvel that we lost two giants of such stature in one moment of tremendous ironic tragedy.
Those two knew more about preventing terrorism than a thousand 9-11 commissions.

1/04/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Some years ago (and I'm going from memory) an Exocet missile hit the USS Stark. I think the missile was detected by the radar but in the mode the Stark was in, the track was not "believed" to be a missile, which it was. The assumptions built into the mode "saw" the missile but believed it was something else.

Later, the USS Vincennes was operating in rougly the same waters and as I recall the fire-control system was reported to be in a much more agressive mode. It shot down a civilian Iranian airliner killing all persons aboard. The radar "saw" the airliner and this time it's "belief" system saw the airliner as a threat. The captain was not punished, nor under the circumstances, was it reasonable to punish him even though his ship had royally screwed the pooch and hundreds of innocent lives lost. There are some things we cannot know in the time allotted.

In the mining disaster case there was no imperative to release the news. It wasn't like there was a possible missile inbound. But the media was focused on the W. Virginia situation and once a single source made it past the first editorial gate it was all gilt-edged after that. The thing got reported and re-reported until it became Gospel. Did somebody "lie". I don't think so. Did the system screw up? Big time.

1/04/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

...once a single source made it past the first editorial gate it was all gilt-edged after that. The thing got reported and re-reported until it became Gospel. Did somebody "lie". I don't think so. Did the system screw up? Big time.

Of course nobody lied. It was a mistake made by innocent people who wished for the best outcome, when they heard the words "vital signs being checked." I don't blame the media one iota for reporting it, because they were hearing it from the family members. I watched it on TV, when silly Geraldo Rivera was saying, "What?! What?!" when a woman (one of the miner wives) said to him on camera that they were alive. The families were celebrating. The Governor himself was celebrating with them, although he says he asked an aide if it was true (I hold him blameless as well). If anyone needs to be blamed, it's ICG for not clearing up the bad information immediately. And I'm not sure this "miscommunication" needs to be the main story, anyway. It totally sucks that the families believed their loved ones were alive, only to find out it was untrue hours later, but the fact remains that either way, the miners were dead. Some people act as though there were devastating consequences to the world because of the media's live coverage of events as they unfolded in front of their eyes.

Yes, it would have been prudent to find an ICG official to confirm, but the media didn't do it. OK, bad call. But the media weren't the ones who told the families the story, someone involved in the rescue operation (an employee?) told them, from what I've heard. I seriously doubt that any of the blogging "fact-checkers" would have reported the scene ANY differently if they were there among the families themselves.

There's more than enough things for which the media can be criticized, but this isn't one of them, IMHO. It reeks of petty ankle-biting. I'll criticize the media in this story for one thing--for the constant talk about "how did this story spread?" How about asking "how did this accident happen," if they must cast about for villains?

Meanwhile, Geraldo Rivera said earlier on Fox today that "the media was victimized" by the bad information. THAT is the height of journalistic stupidity. "Oh, poor us, those people let us report to the public the wrong information!" And as I speak, they are still navel-gazing about it, as they've been doing ALL DAY. It's nauseating. Another Fox anchor said this morning, "I'm not sure what's more upsetting, the letdown or the truth." I don't know about y'all, but a letdown is only temporary. Death itself is far more upsetting.

1/04/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I think the media structure that'll come out of this will see the internet take a more primal role, at least in the unverifiable stage of the news. Cable News will most likely seek to report this "intelligence", but I think the tone of their reporting will be skeptical until a consensus view forms.

I think we will see a pyramid of skepticism install itself into media business, affecting not only what data they report but also the certainty with which the data are reported. Because TV news speaks to a passive audience, it will be the second level of skepticism (from an audience's perspective, and in tone). Internet News will be the first, newspapers should be third (should), research papers fourth, books fifth, etc.

As you can see, what separates each category is the amount of time needed to impart information. The characteristics of Internet news, which passively divulges its information to an active audience, makes its primacy inevitable. As Aristotle would say, it is only a matter of time before its role reflects its essence.

When TV came out it seemed so authoritative. Now we know.

Soon, our perceptions of the news business will match its reality. It will be habit to question the anchor.

1/04/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

I guess I slept through the period when the media got it wrong so I can't speak for how most of the media reported it. However my local newspaper which went to print at the time of the miners being alive reported it on the front page with the headline "12 miners found alive, reports say". The story went on to report how family memebers were celebrating church bells were pealing ect. My point is, as Wretchard noted, much of this is attributable to how we read the news. The headline was careful to note "reports say". In other words, at least in hindsight for myself (I had listened to the radio news as I awoke) it was clear to me that the article was essentially repeating other reports and it was essentially unverified.

Similarily I've always wondered at the traffic reports in my city. Every radio station has them but only one has a traffic helicopter, and I don't even think they are using that any more. I swear most are getting their info form other media outlets and the reports are just reports on reports and in my Orwellian imagination they have next to no bearing on the reality on the roads. Then there is the weather reports.....anyway, I digress. In short, we as individuals need to treat the 'media' with skepticism and read widely, and carefully, for we truly are dwelling in a cave intrepreting the shadows.

1/04/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

When TV came out it seemed so authoritative.

Yes, and when you watch family members celebrating the supposed survival of their loved ones, it DOES seem quite authoritative. Why wouldn't it? You can question the media, but when I saw family members rejoicing with my own eyes on live TV, I myself assumed (incorrectly, obviously) that they had a factual answer from the authorities (rescue teams, ICG CEO, whomever).

1/04/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Basically, the news used pictures of an audience's reaction to prove the veracity of what the man with the microphone told them was true. That is incredibly irresponsible.

The good news is that our access to several levels of information provides us with redundancy. Even when our eyes lie to us, we won't be long misled.

This age is witnessing a quickening of the pace for error correction. Whether it is fake memos or Russia blackmailing its neighbor, departures from equilibrium are being dealt with at an unprecedented pace.

The age of information is, if anything, fast.

1/04/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

News is news because it's new. Having a great scoop of a national story is the Holy Grail - 15 minutes of fame & all that.

If the news is good or great, like was first reported in this story, it is an endorphan-raising experience for the source and the listener. The motivation to be first must be tremendous.

However, if the news turns out to be slanted or just flat-out wrong as with the poor WV miners & their families, it is reduced to the cruelest & most tragic form of heresay.

The "professional journalist" needs to take his responsibility seriously. Many do not and are sorrowfully nothing more than rumor mongers.

1/04/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

As with this fiasco, whenever a person spreads a rumor, he is looking to become the story. It is now the obvious path of this episode.

The story is no longer a WV mining disaster. IT'S ALL ABOUT THOSE POOR VICTIMIZED REPORTERS.

1/04/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

The "monograph" and "principle" are making my eyes roll.

Plainly, this was just the latest example of what I will call "katrina reporting." Traditional journalism seems to have gotten lazy as far as in-depth reporting, confirming facts, etc. Once again, Anderson Cooper and CNN were on the scene and for 24/7 news television, emotions or blood lead instant news coverage. In an era of compressed reporting, we have become witnesses to the messy 'profession' of journalism.

1/04/2006 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

whit, what would you have Anderson do, slide on down the mineshaft and take the vitals of the dead before reporting?

1/04/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Race to the bottom indeed.
Something must be done.
Instead of relying on random reports to Cooper, we could/should have
of the rumors to determine
what is truth?
...just like the 2004 elections.

1/04/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Try as I may, the concept of post-modernism will not settle comfortably in my mind. It appears to be the ultimate in nihilism, which is to say we have reached the entropic end of thought, reason, and morality. If that is it, forget the whole thing. Don't use the term because it is meaningless.

1/04/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

In Katrina, some reporter might have taken the time to SEE the
"bodies in the freezer,"
at least at SOME point in the process.
...but they just continued to pass on the rumor, as if.

1/04/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The New Media have forced them into this.
Woe is us.
Oh, for the old days of Uncle Walter.

1/04/2006 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

It might be said that the MSM should wait for confirmation before posting stories it is also true that the Blogsphere has no immunity from getting the story wrong.

Witness Katrina where we hear over and over again how absurd it was for the News Media to claim that up to 10,000 people might have died. Bloggers act as if that number flew out of Dan Rathers Typewriter and that there was absolutely no way that reflected a possible reality.

When the truth of the matter is numerous scientic estimates postualated far higher numbers if a disaster like Katrina were to happen in New Orleans. Red Cross estimates ran as high as 50,000 and NOAA was guessing between 10,000 to 100,000 dead.

Some terrific blogs took the fact that it turned out 10,000 did not die and used it to pound the MSM over the head. At one point Gateway pundit declared somewhat triumphetly that Katrina was NOT the worst Natural Disaster but merely the 7th worst natural disaster...while we were still pulling bodies out of the water.

We are still pulling bodies out of the water...and worse we are still missing over 5,000 people. At last count some 1,000 children are missing...seems a bit distasteful for anyone to crow about that.

And yet to the Blogsphere its far more important to beat up the MSM than it is to get the story right themselves.

Everyone it seems has their agenda.

Pierre Legrand
Myths about Katrina Myths

1/04/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I didn't attack Mr. Cooper. I merely offered some observations. As far as what Mr. Cooper should have done is 1. Not be there in the first place, give the assignment to a field reporter. 2. Establish contact with the proper spokesman. 3. Not stand in the road and become part of the story.

1/04/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

In the case of the USS Vincenes, the ship was actively in combat at the time, having engaged Iranian gunboats earier that day. This was in the period where the Iranians were caught laying mines in the Gulf while protesting their innocence. The Iranians thought nothing of sending a civilian airliner right over a warship that was engaging their naval units at the time. That says a great deal about how they regard war - appartently more of a hobby, with unlimited time-outs.
The radar on the Vincenes identified the climbing airliner headed toward the ship as a descending F-14 (which were known to have been modified for ground attack) and thus it was engaged with a Standard missile.
One of the lessons learned from that unfortunate incident was that we need to test our radars in a more realistic threat environment, in which there are inevitably multiple friendly and hostile radars all going simultaneously rather than the more pristine environment of a test range, which carefully controls emissions during tests.
In the case of the USS Stark, attacked by an Excot fired from a Iraqi Mirarge F-1, I believe, I think that the only anti-missile system on board was a 20MM Vulcan Phalanx mounted back around the stern which required the ship to be turned away from the threat before it could be enaged, so it was not simply a matter of "Lock on and fire."
Your point is well made: The Stark was in a combat area but did not expect to be attacked - especially by an Iraqi aircraft. The Vincines was in a combat area and engaging naval units from the country that launched the aircraft.
You act on what you think you see and what you expect.
As for the Air Defense analogy, back in the early 70's the Israelis shot down an Egyptiian airliner. They had been told that was a chance of terrorists hijacking an airliner and crashing it into a building in Tel Aviv. When they saw the off course Egypt flight they took what seemed to be appropriate action.
In Israel it is always 12 Sep.

1/04/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


There was an earlier thread on Kimball and Steyn's Death of the West, where they claimed that society doesn't do facts any more. Whether Al Qaeda is the enemy is a matter of opinion. Whether having a collapsing demographic is good or bad is a matter of choice. One human rights author said, 'it's believing in good and evil, black or white that is the problem in the world today'. Right.

But facts do matter and the incident of the miners was a reminder of that. Most of what we know about the world today comes, not from the evidence of our own eyes, but from complex sensors like the media. And the media isn't very careful with facts, not because reporters are evil people, but because the system has real weaknesses. Maybe we've stopped caring about the facts because they are really unimportant. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Some would even say image is reality, but that's only true if you don't have to pay the price.

If artillery fire missions in Iraq were conducted to the same standard of information integrity as the mining reportage fiasco it would be a fair bet there'd be a lot of innocent dead people. Facts do matter when the consequences of error catch up with you.

1/04/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I see this as two, perhaps 3 problems reinforcing one another and compounding the problem.

1. The worship of the media of the prestige of the "scoop". Be First and somehow that will translate into more awards, viewers, money..but this is not moderated by getting things false having much of a downside.

2. The authorities in these crises are sometimes very inept at getting a single front together and vetting rumors or engaging in rumor control. All too frequently it is some stupid cop annointed "spokesman" by the media going on and on about "hero cops" and other "hero kinda folks" who are part of rescue ops and blindly believing every media rumor fed to him.

3. When it goes past the dumb cop, and it's a politician like Mayor Nagin or Gov Blanco shoveling out the bullshit to feed the maws of a hungry public and media trying to get rumor transformed into "fact" - you get the Katrina fiasco, where politicians pimp what they think the public wants to hear, and the media and the public suck up what the politician spins as gospel truth. The Terri Schiavo was another case of advocates misinforming an all to eager media hungry for scoops, and politicians massaging that into spin which then the media made part of the truth - "Dr. Video, Bill Frist, confirmed Terri is just fine!!"

Nahcee -

But then, you don't get Rudy Guiliani running a mining company in West Virginia, do you?

Give Giuliani credit for some attempts at rumor control and big credit for leadership, but he put out his share of media bullshit and unreasonable rescue expectations. Giuliani fed the media the "up to 14,000 may be dead" numbers, and fed unrealistic expectations of "hero rescuers" going in to save hundreds "trapped". It was only clear in hindsight that by day 3, rather than 12-14 days later when Giuliani admitted it was a recovery, not rescue effort, that most authorities had been briefed that the forces of physics, 1000 deg heat of the rubble pile, and monoxide levels meant only a few would be likely to be found and rescued in peripheral areas.

Other groups do better and resist media pressure. Hospitals are quite good at designating a spokesman involving a celebrity case, protecting the celebrity's privacy, and vetting all rumors then presenting a factual briefing to the press. Military and most corporate briefings are also professional in crisis management communications. The training and discipline apparantly has to be emphasized more to puffed-up head cops and politicians loving the spotlight in disasters - be it Chief Moose with the Muslim snipers, Chief Eddie Compass talking about black cannibals, or Ray Nagin saying 10,000 were dead in NOLA and babies raped at the Superdome.

The other thing of course is to have a few reporters swing for putting out utter crap based on the unconfirmed rumor given to them by a passerby in a disaster.

It's badly needed because false information in a disaster hurts the general public when they react improperly to a false picture, can hurt rescue efforts, and as well as the all-important "Victim families" the media panders to 1st and foremost.

1/04/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Pierre Legrand,

In time we may know how many people died in Katrina. There will be unread monographs where some careful academic will separate out those who died from Katrina over those who would have died in the same period from other causes etc. But as far as most people are concerned 10,000 people died in Katrina.

We all know how many people died in the tsunami, or do we? There was no 'bash Bush' or 'bash the MSM' meme in the tsunami. But I think it's fair to say we have only a very dim idea how many people actually died in that Indian ocean catastrophe. During the tsunami, a lot of people wondered how a giant wall of water whose existence could have been deduced from seismology and which made landfall in Thailand could have borne down undetected on the Indian coast. I also wonder how we can have so little idea how many people subsequently died even a year after the fact.

Just recently a Korean doctor published a peer-reviewed landmark study on stem cell cloning in a prestigious scientific journal which turned out to be an absolute crock. No, I don't think these fiascos are due to some vast right wing conspiracy; they are real. There are actual problems in the system.

1/04/2006 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"All too frequently it is some stupid cop annointed "spokesman" by the media going on and on about "hero cops""
Don't forget the Stellar Police Cheif in the DC Sniper Affair.

1/04/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Chief Moose, it was!

1/04/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Some time ago I expressed doubts about a murder of an election worker on Haifa Street in Baghdad because a camerman was too conveniently present. There were also a number of reports at around the same time of reporters being pre-alerted to impending news, such as the brutal killing of the Blackwater contractors at Fallujah bridge, etc.

However that may be, I wonder how much we are told is truth is actually fictive, whether intentionally or unintentionally so.

1/04/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Anyone remember the initial Jessica Lynch story? Or the initial Pat Tillman story? Both interesting cases.

That the latter turned out to be false angered the immediate family members and sundry civilians. That the former turned out to be a whopper angered no one that I know outside the military.

1/04/2006 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

DIdn't you know that false stories are OK if they serve the greater good of political correctness?

1/04/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

If I remember correctly, the Phalanx on the Stark was down for maintenance when the missile hit them.

I'm interested in your "take" on how Sharon's stroke will affect Israel's situation, assuming that he is unable to continue as a politician.

1/04/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Israeli politics is apparently about coalitions. You may want to see This link for how it may play out.

1/04/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Exhelo: Yes, I seem to recall that too, but I am sure that I recall that the Captain of the Stark did not turn so as to enable the Phalanx to be used. Maybe it would have been a moot maneuver.
The Vincenes was expecting to be attacked by Iranian aircraft
The Stark was not expecting to be attacked by Iraqi aircraft. And after the Stark was hit we blamed the Iranians for attacking shipping in the Gulf as the root cause.

All: The news that "militants" in Gaza attacked the border with EGYPT today and crossed over into Egypt without permission - requiring "thousands" of Egyptian border guards to be sent to the area is the most interesting news to me of late.
Poor old Sharon looks pretty good right now, in possesion of his faculties or not.
Who would have thought that the Palestinian State would suddenly become a bigger problem for the Arabs than Israel? Long term, maybe, but this fast?

1/04/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The best source I could find on Sharon He'll live.

1/04/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Here's an interesting story about the Australian media. When I read it, I immediately wondered about Wretchard's thoughts:
An excerpt:
However, last week in Australia, Fairfax media, which owns the two largest newspapers in Melbourne and Sydney, recklessly embraced the Kelly syndrome when it portrayed ten Muslim terror suspects held in maximum security in the Barwon Prison, as misunderstood victims of the bullying West. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age said the men were in “solitary confinement, dressed in ‘Guantanamo Bay orange’ and banned from touching loved ones.”


1/04/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Podhoretz will be on Hugh Hewitt next hour to discuss Sharon/Israel.

1/04/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...


Who would have thought that the Palestinian State would suddenly become a bigger problem for the Arabs than Israel? Long term, maybe, but this fast?

actually I did..

btw, fatah gunman held rachael corrie's parents hostage TODAY, then after several HOURS released them..

ha ha ha haha ha

pass the pork rinds, the show goes on!

1/04/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Thank you kindly for your response Wretchard. Not sure I stated my position as well as I could have.

But this summation of my article that I linked to earlier does a better job.

The media has a lot to answer for, indeed they did get major parts of the story wrong in Katrina. It was shameful that they used our tragedy to attack President Bush. It would be ashamed if we in the Blogsphere also used the tragedy to attack our enemy the MSM.

At this point a Major US city is no more. Less that 100,000 people sleep in the city overnight. Enormous portions of the city will never recover. Let that sink in for a moment...a US City has been effectively destroyed. Not sure how much the MSM overhyped it, but it would be ashamed if we made less of it, to attack the MSM. More than 5,000 Adults and 1,500 children from La. are still missing. Chill a bit on the minimizing eh?

Where I have a beef with the media isn't in the reporting that is often done in the heat of the moment since they are humans and subject to the same emotions as the rest of us. Those who believe they could do a better job are invited to do so. But even in the military, with men and women trained to observe under fire, the first reports of a battle are often incorrect.

I have a beef with those in the MSM who use pieces long in the making that were obvious hit pieces. Such as the story regarding President Bush's honorable service in the Air National Guard. Or the story about the NSA that is causing our national security to be comprimised in a desparate attempt to destroy President Bush. Btw anyone who hasn't read that piece by Roger Kimball that Wretchard alluded to earlier, it is a must read for anyone serious about our National Defense.

Stories such as the mis reporting of the Miners survival are merely unfortunate mistakes that will happen. Not another chance to attack the media. Bloggers get it wrong as well and it takes a man with big cajones to throw stones out of a glass house.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your blog!

Pierre Legrand

1/04/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Facts on the ground: One has come Who claims to be the holy Intermediary between humans and God, for this Day.

Factual, multi-source evidence exists as to the truth of the matter of his BODY existing, and somebody having lived.

He lives, He dies. How do we ascertain whether or not He IS Who He says He is? By what proof can we test Him?

Are the Christian clergy 'lying' when they 'scoff and deny our Lord Who redeems us' has returned? Is there a "conspiracy" to keep truth from We, the People? Is IIPeter 2:1 simply irrelevant?

How can we 'prove' that Jesus is Christ? How can we 'prove' that Christ has returned?

If Christ, that Essence of Righteousness and Purity, that Truth-Telling and Authoritative Wholeness and Holiness, HAS come again, at the time recorded in His promises and with the Teachings, the Life and the Sacrifice promised in all the prophecies pertaining to Him, WHAT WORDS MUST BE USED to inform the world of His coming?

How can the enormity of this event be shared with a jaded and uncaring humanity which is simultaneously hungry, yearning for Truth?

How can I share the Good News of His Being?

1/04/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

"5000 adults and 1500 children are missing."

Maybe the proper expression is "unaccounted for". We know that 2000 sex offenders are unaccounted for. How many phantom citizens (read social security, retirement welfare, municipal employees) might have existed in a metropolitan area of this size? How many simply chose to disappear?

It is irresponsible to imply that an additional 6500 people perished in Katrina.

1/04/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Whit said It is irresponsible to imply that an additional 6500 people perished in Katrina.

Odd thought I said missing. Matter of fact in the original post I even went on to say:

It was also in my opinion fairly unseemly to be crowing about the fact that we were "only" the 7th worst when indeed at that point over 9,000 people were still listed as missing. Indeed at this very moment there are still over 5,000 adults missing and 1,500 children missing. No doubt that not all of them are dead but still perhaps a bit of decorum is called for especially since we are STILL finding bodies, 30 last month.

What is irresponsible and absolutely distasteful to me is using a tragedy that most of the Blogsphere had no part in to further the meme that the blogsphere wants to drive. The MSM is terrible and awful and we are the ones annointed in truth and objectivity. It is simply false to make that claim and furthermore it damages our very credibility to make that claim.

This past weekend we found 3 more bodies in New Orleans.

The fact of the matter is many of the areas hit were filled with old people who might not have had a way to escape. It is entirely possible that before this is all over we may go over 2,000 dead.

Next I suppose we can quibble about how they died since that is the way the Right Side of the Blogsphere is moving to explain many of the deaths now that they have realized that 1,000 isn't 10,000 but its still an awful lot. I am sure it will be entertaining to hear them explain that dying on an overpass from heat stress doesnt count since they didnt die in the flood. Cant wait for that edifying arguement.

Pierre Legrand

1/04/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

In Normal Accidents Perrow makes the point that safety devices sometimes cause the veryu accidents they were meant to prevent. This is material evidence of a theoretical construct.

1/04/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"Just recently a Korean doctor published a peer-reviewed landmark study on stem cell cloning in a prestigious scientific journal which turned out to be an absolute crock. No, I don't think these fiascos are due to some vast right wing conspiracy; they are real. There are actual problems in the system."

When I worked for a Senior Research Professor at UT investigating a kinetic physics issue in depth we found numerous errors in peer reviewed papers. Either their math was wrong, physics was wrong, or their conceptual understanding was wrong. Sometimes people got it right, but the data was presented so poorly their paper was illegible. We began our work from first principles and worked it out before doing due diligence or we might have been mooing as well.

When we contacted the authors, only the engineers at Boeing realized we were right and issued a correction. Most everyone else argued with us up until the experimental evidence overwhelmed them.

I've discussed this with engineers I met and they have had the same problems - they had data that contradicted some paper and spent more time arguing with the authors than it took to figure out where their errors were. Getting back an email that said "you are wrong!" was common.

1/04/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"DIdn't you know that false stories are OK if they serve the greater good of political correctness?"

I do indeed, exhelo.

Wretchard said:

" both the mining and WMD cases, something was wrong with the system. It don't think someone sat down and said 'how do we fake this story?'."

'The system' is exactly right. But I don't suppose grieving family members of the 12 casualties will be any more receptive to explanations of a badly flawed system than have been the more ardent and apoplectic opponents of OIF.

Grief does funny things. So does political paranoia.

1/04/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Well, Wretch, I went through the post you mentioned without much enlightenment; thanks anyway. So I googled it and became inundated with definitions and usages that only confuse me more.

Pomo is---whatever some pseudo-intellectual wants it to be, and the term can be applied to virtually everything.

I get a vague drift of meaning when I look at a sequence such as:
Traditionalist==>modernist==>post-modernist when applied to art.
But it doesn't seem to hold well for me.

I get more out of:
Representational==>Abstract==>Post-abstract or Superabstract.

But since I cannot make sense out of Modern itself, the rest, in my incomprehending way, is simply the doodles of a thousand monkeys,
that might accidentally be interesting or amusing.

But, the one thing that is clear to me is that pomo attacks the edifaces of truth we have painstakingly built up in our Judeo-Christian and Scientific worlds. For that reason, for the waste it represents of intellectual energy, and for the potential for nihilism to take further hold in society, I simply reject the idea.

Yes, you said that (sort of) in your first post.

1/04/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mannning said...

Sp: edifices, not edifaces

1/04/2006 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Getting back an email that said "you are wrong!" was common."
Now THAT's a devastating refutation.

1/04/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger My Boaz's Ruth said...

"Still, it's strange to think that the threat didn't seem to register until the second plane hit."

I remember that morning, between the two planes hitting. Kirby Wilbur was on the radio talking about the last time a plane accidentally hit a skycraper (this being the previous and now-again tallest building in New York, Empire State Building) -- yes I'm in Seattle. But the thing is, even our presumption at the time was it was a terrible accident.

When the second plane hit, of course, we knew it was war.

1/04/2006 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"we knew it was war."

Look, closely, at the Afghanistan/Pakistan border on a Google Earth map.

What kind of war would you make?

What kind of war would you seek?

If you were us.

1/04/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

It's poor territory, ruth.

1/05/2006 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

11:53 was really meant for Rat, our Plans guy.

Take it away, Rat.

1/05/2006 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This is the war 'Rat thinks most dangerous to the country and most surely is being lost.

1/05/2006 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/05/2006 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Malkin LINK

1/05/2006 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger exguru said...

I watched for over an hour after they were reported found alive, and at that point began to have very strong suspicions because no one had come out from where the miners and doctors were, but the Fox crew expressed no doubts whatsoever, on and on and on. They must have had an inkling before the truth was announced.

1/05/2006 07:53:00 PM  

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