For those readers interested in the whole Boston LED "terror" story involving LEDs, D batteries, a shamefaced police department and traditional media outlets who adore confusion and ignorance, here is a decent analogy from Joe Keohane of the Weekly Dig:
Next, let’s all get out our dictionary and look up “hoax”, shall we? Because while “War of the Worlds” was a hoax, this was not. There was no subterfuge involved, and no effort made to convince people that these devices were bombs. If I see a scary looking tree out my bedroom window, think it’s a monster, and then discover upon closer inspection that it isn’t, it doesn’t mean the tree has perpetrated a hoax against me. What it means is that for a moment I took leave of my senses. And just because I’m embarrassed about it doesn’t give me the right to go cut down the tree.