Monday, May 2, 2005

15 Minutes of "Fame"

It's becoming a disagreeable broken record -- somebody goes missing and the person responsible heads straight for the media and/or the police. "My children were abducted!" "My wife simply disappeared!" "We/I was taken hostage!"

Yet, in situation after situation, it's all a ruse. The most recent rendition of this phenomena concerns Jennifer Wilbanks, the woman who got cold feet prior to her large wedding. After turning up in New Mexico -- far away from her Georgia home -- the wayward bride initially claimed she had been abducted.

In short order, the truth came gushing out.

Part of the explanation for all these fake reports is easy to understand. People want to avoid being blamed for something they have done, often something sinister and criminal. It's like the child standing next to the shattered vase -- "Hey, don't look at me. I didn't do it".

However, there's more to it than that. We've become a society of too much information. News is everywhere -- TV, radio, the internet and in print. All by itself, Fox News (an oxymoron in my book) can transform the most arcane bit of information into a round-the-clock coverage replete with expert commentary of the every nuance of the situation.

So, along with attempting to avoid blame, too many people want their chance at 15 minutes of fame!

Of course, there are two key problems with all these fake reports. First, it wastes a lot of resources , time and people's concern over nothing. Second, and more importantly, it makes the public a bit jaded. Now when reports of this nature hit the airwaves, a lot of us immediately wonder, "Is this another fake story?"

Too often, the answer ends up being a resounding YES!! Therefore, when people are really in trouble -- through no fault of anyone involved in the media glare -- a time may one day come when the response will be slow because we automatically assume we're being told a big lie.


  1. One of my pet peeves is that they can't even get the headlines right: she wasn't a "runaway bride" but a "runaway fiancee'" - oh well, I guess the journos are allowed creative license to spice up the story, right? So go and steal a Hollywood movie title (very original)...

  2. Great point! I was completely duped. It's funny how someone can mischaracterize a person or event and this mischaracterization sticks.

    Dubya & his minions are particularly good at mischaracterizing the English language. No wonder so many Americans are confused!


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