A lot of wishful thinking goes on in articles that purport to be news. I’m talking about the kind of article that speculates that a trend is forming that will be positive to the interests of the U.S. But when you read the article carefully, you see that it’s built on a series of conjectures and the opinions of one or two people with a vested interest in the prediction coming true. No real facts.
In the past, there have been wishful “it’s so because we say it’s so” articles about many topics: violence ending in Iraq;, various national troops becoming ready to take a larger role in the defense of their countries; proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda; Chinese economic weakness; and even sighting economic green shoots sprouting and signaling the end of the deep recession.
For a classic example of these stories spun from the gossamer of wishful thinking, check out the lead story on the front page of the New York Times.
The story is titled “Germany, Forced to Buoy Greece, Rues Euro Shift” and the first paragraph plus reads:
“As Europe edges toward emergency guarantees to stem market panic over one of the most profligate members of the euro bloc, the country that the region turns to for leadership, Germany, is suffering from growing doubts about the European experiment it long championed.”
But the rest of the article is about something else. The reporter, Nicholas Kulish, makes no attempt to offer any facts to substantiate the supposed premise of the article—that the Germans regret having converted to the euro.
The remainder of the article concerns the fact that German leaders know that Germany and France must take lead roles in helping Greece, but for the time being they are not talking about what they might do, a tactic that is suppose to put pressure on the Greek government. The article does quote from someone who was opposed to the conversion to Euros and someone else whom we are supposed to assume was also opposed to it, but neither says anything about being opposed to it at the current time nor that they have heard a groundswell of people sorry that Germany made the move.
Although the article repeats many times that opposition to being on the euro is growing in Germany, the writer provides not one shred of evidence that it is so. Everything else he writes in the article is well-substantiated, so that most readers may not even see that the basic assertion of the article is unproven.