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Media hype and disinformation

So it seems that the World Health Organization has overturned its travel ban to Toronto. Turns out it should have never imposed a ban in the first place, given that it was based on rather shoddy science. But what about the media hysteria that surrounded the ban? In a keynote to a World Trade Center event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania yesterday, I used the following observations, which were obtained from a Web site analyzing a crisis:

  • “coverage of the situation and its repercussions by the mainstream media was confusing at best”
  • “few journalists managed to impart to the public a clear, coherent picture of the evolution of the crisis”
  • “most coverage suffered from some form of bias”
  • “facts, related by people with the time to gain a full understanding of their meaning, have been scarce”

Were these comments about SARS and media disinformation in Toronto? Nope — they were written about how media hysteria managed to distort honest reporting on Three Mile Island in Harrisburg over 20 years ago.
Will some things never change?

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