Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fact and F$#^ing Fiction

For those that don't know, there were about a dozen miners trapped for an extended period of time. Their families were initially told that all but one lived, but it turned out that all but one died.

This is rough on so many levels. For one thing:

So, there was a miscommunication, of some sort, about how many people survived. "...mining officials told family members early Wednesday that 11 of the 12 trapped coal miners initially thought to have survived a mine explosion had died." But later, the article says, '"We're clinging to one miracle when we were hoping for 13," he said.'

Eh? It sounds like someone's still messing with (or messing up) the numbers. Was it 12 or 13??

The careless miscommunication of guesswork and opinion as fact lead to the following:

'"Families gathered at the Sago Baptist Church began running out of the church and crying just before midnight, yelling "They're alive!" After two days of keeping vigil, they celebrated joyfully as church bells rang in jubilation. '

[later, after the truth was revealed]

'Chaos broke out in the church and a fight started. About a dozen state troopers and a SWAT team were positioned along the road near the church because police were concerned about violence. A Red Cross volunteer, Tamila Swiger, told CNN people were breaking down and suffering panic attacks. '

Sad and disgusting.

I had to post about this, not because of outrage over the violent expression of grief and frustration from the victims' families, but because of the fact that this probably wouldn't have happened if people (like those who falsely reported the number of survivors) made a greater effort to separate fact from fiction and opinion. If you THINK you know something's true, then say it's what you THINK. If you think something OUGHT to be that way, then present it as a your opinion. When you present what you THINK as verifiable fact, you do a disservice to us all - and not just in life and death situations.

Anybody remember that game where you put people in a semi-circle, whisper something in the ear of the person on one end, then have them pass that message to the next person... and so on, until the last person recites the message? Damn-near without fail, the message is distorted all up to be damned.

Now, maybe that's just due to someone's faulty hearing, but experience tells me it has as much, if not more to do with people's faulty expression. ...and it'll remain that way until we care enough to make changes within ourselves.

So yeah, we're pretty much fucked.

What do YOU think?

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