I consider myself a talented writer, a passion that I was born with and has never left me regardless of whatever academic journeys life took me on. While underappreciated in this techno-centric world, the ability to tell a story engages the human mind that no other artificial element can replace. It can connect people of all walks of life, carrying them to destinations that are otherwise impossible due to physical or existential restrictions. Stories of heroism, tragedy, and love survive despite their terrestrial manifestations succumbing to their natural limitations. An argument can be made that the entire human experience is one magnificent story, a script of beautiful imperfection.
But in order for the narrative to have any true meaning, it must have some kind of velocity, a catalyst composed of characters and the conflicts that they find themselves in. A written journal of equilibrium is not a story, but a description. Yet this is what we are left with in the sad case of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. As we enter the 14th day since the airliner disappeared, speculation has run rampant regarding an explanation, ranging from terrorism all the way to miniature black holes. No, seriously. There have been multiple reports of "possible debris" from the plane, only to be cruelly rebuffed, leaving many affected family members in limbo.
And yet, the mainstream media has essentially gone on a 300-hour filibuster regarding Flight MH370 with zero confirmed facts outside the sole fact that the plane went missing. "Breaking News" headlines flashed from CNN to Fox to MSNBC, all guilty of horrible misappropriation of the term. The deceptive headlines essentially became justification for random experts to tout their latest theory, most of it perhaps enlightening but would only be so if their assumptions were true.
But with so many assumptions taking us one way or the other, which assumption is true? In a situation like this, there can only be one truth, leaving all other theories worthless. That's a mighty big risk in terms of credibility and journalistic integrity that's on the line here. Yet this happens all the time in the financial sector. Pundits from across the vast money-diaspora weigh in on the latest goings-on, using complicated rhetoric and formulas to predict the market's future, but their prognostications are only as good as their assumptions. In other words, even if the math is correct, the answer could still be wrong.
What the media is chasing today is the math, not the numbers that go into the math. We have grown accustomed to the technicalities of a process being the justification for the process itself without taking into consideration its total integrity. While the assumptions that the media runs with do make for good entertainment, there are potentially serious consequences for accepting them at full value.