Cautionary Tales with Tim HarfordCautionary Tales with Tim Harford

Poles Apart: How A Journalist Divided A City

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Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford

We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable lessons, but these Cautionary Tales are for the education of the grown ups – and th 
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Heroic explorer Frederick Cook has just returned from the very roof of the world, the first man to reach the North Pole. Or so he says. Journalist Philip Gibbs has been watching him, and he’s convinced he’s lying.

When Gibbs publishes that belief, he stands alone. Cook has a gripping manner and an excellent reputation: his winning tale must be true. Diners boo Gibbs at a restaurant, newspapers publish sly-looking caricatures of him, and he even receives threats of violence.

But then, everything changes.

We often think of polarisation as a modern problem — but the story of Cook and Gibbs has much to teach us here.

For a full list of sources for this episode, please visit timharford.com.

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Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford

We tell our children unsettling fairy tales to teach them valuable life lessons, but these Cautionar 
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