"What Problem?" (Media)

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At 12:30 a.m. EST, Sam Donaldson at the ICC reports "no news is good news," and echoes the tone set by Koskenin himself earlier in the evening. This report was followed by a story on Jane Garvey and the FAA. There is a palpable feeling of *gloating* in the air, and it seems remarkably premature. Nowhere do public officials offer a cautionary note, that it might be a little early to declare that the danger is past.

We may see a dramatic backlash here, a public disbelief that Y2K was ever a "real" problem. For most people, it's already "over," they've seen enough to conclude that there never was cause for concern. Will they be able to hear that months may go by before we have an accurate picture? Not likely.

The following story was distributed on NHNE at about 5:15 p.m. MST.




WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As 2000 dawned in Asia largely unmarred by the dreaded Y2K computer glitch, the White House defended Friday the billions of dollars spent worldwide on computer upgrades and predicted major benefits to come.

Even before the world's most computer-reliant nation rang in the new year, U.S. officials said they were expecting plenty of second guessing based on overseas computers' whirring and purring past the potential Jan. 1 pitfall.

"I think one of the questions you've begun to see surface a little around the edges is, 'well, has this all been hype'?" said John Koskinenen, President Clinton's top Y2K trouble-shooter.

The answer is no, he said, repeating his oft-stated view that preparing for the 2000 technology challenge was "the biggest management challenge the world has had in 50 years."

"And to the extent that we see the results of a phenomenal amount of effort by individuals and the expenditure of a substantial amount of resources resulting in a positive result, I think that we should not underestimate the nature of the problem that was originally there," he said.

"Thus far, no news has been good news," Koskinen added, speaking at a $50 million command center set up by the White House to gather Y2K updates from industry, state, local and foreign governments.

-- Michael Brownlee (Tucson) (michael@visibiliti.com), January 01, 2000


I noticed that Australian media presenters seem to be claiming that Y2K was all hype anyway. Ignoring the money spent to prevent a disaster, the fact we seem to have avoided the first problems with the utilities seems (in their eyes) to indicate Y2K was NEVER a real problem!

-- david letcher (david.letcher@mannin.com.au), January 01, 2000.

Joel Stein (Time Magazine) appeared on national TV this morning (Today Show, I think) sharing stories of being with a family in their "bunker" over New Year's. He was astonished that they were so pleased to discover that there weren't problems! When pressed by the host to desribe this "bunker", he admitted it was just their home, with a dozen cans of Spam. Joel was amused, laughing, and, imo, derisive of the preparedness effort, and ridiculing it to the extreme.

-- Jan Nickerson (JaNickrson@aol.com), January 03, 2000.

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