Wednesday, May 4, 2011

They Just Make it up

Some people will listen to and fall for anything that sounds plausible. Paul Harvey, in his rest of the story, told about four Denver journalists in 1899 who were having a very slow news day. They each had a deadline to meet and no newsworthy event had occurred in Denver that day. After the last train left town and with the deadline getting closer they headed to the Oxford Hotel to have a beer and discuss their common problem.

Al stated that he was going just to make up a story. At first no one took him seriously but as they drank the idea began to grow. As they each worked for different papers they decided to collaborate. A domestic story could be rather quickly checked for its truth. So it was decided that they would write an international story. They thought China was far enough away, so they would write about China.

John came up with the ultimate story about a group of American engineers traveling through Denver on their way to China. The Chinese government was taking estimates on tearing down the Great Wall. The story was that by tearing down the wall they would send a message around the world that they welcomed foreigners and foreign trade. These American engineers would be one of the groups that would bid on the job. By the 11 P.M. deadline the details of the story were worked out.
The next morning all four of the Denver papers carried the story on the front page. The TIMES headline stated it very clearly: "GREAT CHINESE WALL DOOMED! PEKING SEEKS WORLD TRADE!"

To the absolute surprise of the journalist, the story was not only on the front page of their papers but it was also taken very seriously around the world and especially in ChinaWhen the Chinese heard that the Americans were coming to tear down their national symbol they became very angry. There was even a group of Chinese who were already worried about foreign involvement in their country. This group attacked the foreign embassies in Peking, killing hundreds of missionaries.

Two month later 12,000 troops from six different countries invaded China for the reason of protecting their own citizens. All of the bloodshed became known as the Boxer Rebellion and all because of itchy ears for a lie.

Even today with our advanced communications we have people with itchy ears who are ready to believe any lie that is repeated enough. It is becoming so that we automatically believe that our political leaders are lying. We believe that even more when we receive an email about some one in the other political party.

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