Cloudy Crystal Balls

Beware of snapshots. They often fade.

I guess what's got me waxing poetic is perusing some old newspapers I kept around the house.

One was from April of this year.

The baseball season had just begun and the Boston Red Sox had just swept the New York Yankees. Their lead surged to 4½ games over the hapless Yanks. One columnist wrote that the Yanks had lost their mojo and that this was the Red Sox’ year.

You know, it still might be. But as we enter the All-Star break, it is the Sox who've stumbled — they trail the Yankees by seven games.

Different day. Different snapshot.

I remember a snapshot that characterized a presidential election as close as a razor's edge: The incumbent stumbling, the challenger gaining.

I'm not talking this summer or this race. I'm talking 24 summers ago: Carter-Reagan. The polls were tight then, but the snapshot would prove wrong then.

I remember the snapshot of a fellow named George Foreman nearly 30 years ago — a 6-to-1 favorite against an aging Muhammad Ali. "No contest," wrote one columnist. "I fear for Ali," wrote another.

The snapshot was wrong. A different dope was roped.

Reminders all, as if we need them that polls and headlines and columnists and, dare I say it, news anchors, can get it wrong.

For a day anyone can seem brilliant. Just like any snapshot can look fresh. But then it fades and it yellows. And in time, it just looks... bad.

Watch Neil Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on "Your World with Cavuto."