How Rumors Start: What’s that you say about an Obama scare?

My flight from Seattle to San Francisco yesterday was about to leave the gate when an obviously irritated pilot came on the loudspeaker to tell us, “Because of the Obama situation, the airspace around SFO is temporarily closed and we will be delayed from 30-45 minutes.”

The woman in front of me immediately took advantage of this situation to get on her cell phone and start contacting her friends and family to tell them about the excitement: “You won’t believe what’s going on in San Francisco! The airport is closed down because of a bomb scare!”

By the time she was on her second or third call, those of us around her felt it was time to tell her that what was actually happening was Obama, the President, was flying into the area–not a bomb scare.

“Are you absolutely sure?” she asked.

Well, yes. Besides the fact that a presidential arrival/departure always results in a tempoarary closure of the surrounding air space for security reasons, I can’t remember ever hearing about a bomb scare on the ground closing the airspace above an airport.

“Oh,” she said, obviously disappointed.

“Well, if it’s any consolation,” my seatmate said to her “to many Republicans, a visit from Obama can be pretty scary in itself.”

Lesson learned: Be careful that what you broadcast to the world reflects what’s really going on, vs. what you *thought* you heard.

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