Fear is front page news.

The media have terrorized us for months with front page news of the dangers of H1N1, or swine flu. The scare tactics continue event today.

Yet the other day I found this tucked away on page A6 of my local paper:

LONDON — H1N1 flu is far less dangerous than originally feared, British officials said Thursday — about 100 times less lethal than the 1918 Spanish flu.

[...]

Earlier this week, American researchers released a similar analysis of the virus and said H1N1 may turn out to be the mildest pandemic on record. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated H1N1 has a lower death rate than seasonal flu.

Hmmm. "mildest pandemic on record". "lower death rate than seasonal flu." That doesn’t sound very scary. In fact, it sounds informative, comforting, and reassuring.

Yes, I can see why that just wouldn’t work on the front page. I guess honest journalism just doesn’t cut it anymore.Truth is the first casualty when creating fear is all that’s important.

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