Thursday, January 05, 2006


For not writing about much else during the Web pages crisis. Hopefully it will get cleared up. If not, look for a eulogy of the old dictionary. It's not just scrambling to fix it that has me reoccupied, it's fielding questions from the 10,000 to 20,000 or so visitors who go to the site every day.

Among the other thought that have been able to flit through my mind today is this one: Something not much noticed in the howl over the media mis-coverage of the West Virginia mining tragedy is that the media's error in this case was a rush to print the story -- and the story was good news. That sort of defies one of the shibboleths.

Imagine if it had been reversed: If the initial rumor was that all were dead, but then it turned out all were alive. But the headlines the next day said "coal miners found dead." Do you think some of the more strident critics would have seen evidence of Bush-bashing in that? I suspect so: The media wants the story to end poorly, so it can blame the federal government for lax oversight, etc. It really would have seemed like the Katrina mis-reporting.

Yet the headlines would have been wrong, in that case, for exactly the same reason they were wrong in the actual case.