Quite a short piece today because the only way to make it longer would be to engage in the sort of speculation it is written to criticise.
Reports from the USA say that mail addressed to Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, was intercepted at a mail screening facility after testing positive for ricin, the toxin found in the seeds of Ricinus communis, castor bean plant.
When I say ‘reports’ I should, probably, have said ‘headlines and opening paragraphs’ because, at least with CNN and Reuters as reported by Yahoo News, later in the story it is pointed out that the tests at the mail checking facility are not definitive and it will require a complete laboratory analysis to fully identify the substance that caused the alert.
Other media outlets ignored this important point and reported as though the substance found was without doubt ricin.
It can’t be said often enough that the only way ricin can be used successfully as a terrorist weapon is if the media creates terror by its reporting.
I’ll keep an eye out for the laboratory results but I wonder if they’ll be prominent if it turns out it wasn’t ricin. Whoops; starting to speculate. Time to go.
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