Seth Godin explains that we need a narrative to make sense of and feel right about the world around us.
The media needs a narrative
In fact, The War of the Worlds did not cause mass hysteria when it first aired. It was a story fanned by radio-fearing tabloid newspapers.
In fact, Pam (eBay founder Pierre’s wife) did not need a place to buy and sell Pez dispensers. This is a tale invented by a PR person and repeated by tech-phobic journalists eager for a simple story.
In fact, Columbus wasn’t surrounded by flat-earth believing denialists before he ‘discovered’ America. This was amplified by Washington Irving (!) in a book that was largely invented without much research.
And George Washington didn’t cut down the cherry tree and Robin Hood didn’t do all those cool tricks in green tights.
The media isn’t the one that needs a narrative… we do. We need to make sense of what’s around us, not just the true things that really happened, but the fictional ones that we know didn’t.
All this myth-making reminds us just how strongly wired we are to believe in things that both make sense and feel right. They feel right because of who told us, and when. Culture creates reality.