Three members of the Munching Moose Tree and Hedge Maintenance Service were wrongly accused of attacking a man.
The Story: “Alberta RCMP now say they are attending a medical emergency… that involves a moose in the area (urban) after issuing a wildlife warning for a ‘moose attack’…” Date: November 3, 2021, 6:18 PM. Source: CBC News
Later, an addition to the CBC report said: “RCMP had issued a wildlife warning, but have since said the incident was a medical emergency.”
A CTV News report (at 6:52 PM) said: “…when officers arrived, they discovered that the moose, a mom and her two calves, hadn’t come into contact with anyone and the man had instead suffered a “medical emergency.”
Thirty four minutes. That is the difference in time between the CBC report and the CTV report. It only took 34 minutes for the CTV reporter to clarify that the moose did not attack anyone. That won’t, however, stop a moose attack story from spreading faster than the truth.
Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.
– Jonathan Swift, The Examiner, Nov. 9, 1710 –
It’s well understood that there’s a bias to our sharing negative over positive news, and also a bias to sharing surprising over unsurprising news.
– Deb Roy, co-author ‘The spread of true and false news online’ –
Is there an upside to the false part of this story?
Maybe. People might be more wary of moose and stay away from them.
Maybe not. People might try to scare the moose away and that might not end well for the people or the moose.
I’ll be glad when the moose have left the ‘big city’ and returned to their ‘rural roots’!