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Talking heads (including this one) misspeak

Reports from major newspapers around the nation, including this one from the New York Times (subscription required), indicate that airports returned to normal operations just a day after the foiled plot to bomb transatlantic airline flights threw security precautions into high gear. In the hours following the plot’s disclosure, already-long summer lines were suddenly transformed into endless back-ups as each and every passenger, and her carry-on bags, was subjected to extra-thorough security scrutinizing.

The question which naturally arose was one of duration: How long would travelers have to endure the numbing waits, exasperating flight delays and infuriating cancellations?

In interviews with several national publications, I responded to that question with a bit of conjecture that has already proved to be false, namely that flyers could expect to be similarly inconvenienced for at least several more weeks.

As my significant other, a former journalist with a knack for ego-deflating pronouncements, periodically reminds me: the mainstream media is often more interested in generating content to fill the “holes” between ads than it is in uncovering the truth.

So for consumers of news, it’s worth remembering that talking heads are often sought after as much for their easy accessibility and quotability as for their track records in accurately divining the future course of events.

Case in point: this writer.

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