Today, one of my friends introduced me to this article, titled Japan: Rumors and Misinformation Create Undue Panic.
It’s true. The foreign media has been publishing things that are unfounded, and some of which are based on the foggiest of speculation. I would consider a large percentage of what they are saying to be lies. But this poor reporting has had a major effect on people living here and abroad, and also on policymakers. Not surprisingly, if everyone just took a step back and thought about what they were reading and hearing for a moment–that’s what they tried to teach us in school, right? critical thinking?–they would realize how ridiculous and inflated most of the claims are. But instead, there are people throwing their lives away in Japan and fleeing the country, people downing iodine pills in California, US government officials telling Japan it is incapable of handling a nuclear crisis…and so on.
These practices exist not because the people behind the writing and reporting are ignorant, but because they know that terrifying people is a good way to make money. Please take a look at this article, it will be well worth your time. Staying calm during this crisis will help us all get through it, and will also convey a bit more respect toward the people directly affected by it.