Media Blog

The Journalism of Maybe

Oh, but I hate the journalism of maybe. Media Blog reader Christopher H. wrote to notify me of this Reuters report:

London bombings fail to damage Blair … yet
LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Tony Blair urged Britons to be calm and resolute after a second spate of bombings in London on Thursday, but further attacks may tarnish his image as a statesman which has won him praise.
Blair was lauded at home and abroad after bombs on London’s transport network killed more than 50 people two weeks ago.

Tell us, Mike Peacock of Reuters, seer of seers, what do you prophesy if perchance these attacks turn out to be a trend?

But if Thursday’s fresh attacks, albeit smaller and taking no lives, turn out to be the start of a trend, the political flak could start to fly.

Alas, while our prophet’s prediction about Blair’s poll numbers could come to pass, it is not informed by great historical knowledge. If these attacks turn out to be the start of a trend? If?! Where have you been for the last 10 years? If Islamic terrorist attacks in New York, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Kenya, Yemen, New York again, Virginia, Bali, Morocco, Turkey, Spain, Britain twice, not to mention daily in Iraq (and I’m sure I’m missing some) don’t constitute a trend, what does? Low-rise jeans? This is war, Peacock!
This report commits two common journalistic blunders — ignoring the past and trying to predict the future. If you’re going to attempt the latter, at least try to avoid the former.

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