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Typhoon Haiyan and the language of disaster
Typhoon Haiyan and the language of disaster

A lie repeated often and confidently enough can become widely mistaken for the truth, becoming a belief that obscures the facts. False beliefs about disaster follow this model; their poison is concentrated in a few oft-deployed words, notably "mobs," "panic" and "looting." This poison is being poured out over the disaster zones of the Philippines right now as misleading coverage threatens to become its own disaster, augmenting the existing one. Attempts at survival are not criminal acts, yet that is how they are often portrayed in news reports suggesting the problem is out-of-control mobs or looting rather than that the largest typhoon ever to make...

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