Monday, October 06, 2008

That Guy Who Posted The Rumor About Steve Jobs' Heart Attack Ruined Everything That I Worked So Hard To Create

My ruling in Bidzirk vs Smith was a huge step forward for citizen / blogger journalism. It established a formula for bloggers as journalists. The judge ruled in my case that news and news commentary is a very subjective term as laid out in the Lanham Act. It also established blogs as a medium for news - therefore providing free speech protections.

I was also able to prove in my case that I researched and verified every fact of the story - including the right to publish it and the method and technique TO PUBLISH it so that i would be protected under the law in case the owner of Bidzirk tried something malicious - which he did.

But my article wasn't rumor or especially unfettered critique. Apple rumormongers however I believe have been manipulating Apple Stock for years - critiquing Apple when it served them best in a "short sale market" like we are currently in and praising Apple when we are in a bull market - such as at the beginning of 2006.

Apple trades under the AAPL symbol.

This "rumor" has apparently set "blogger / citizen journalism" back substantially:

As reported by Slashdot:

On Friday [October 3 2008] someone posted a false rumor that Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack on CNN's unverified citizen journalism site, iReport. Apple's stock price went vertical, losing 9% before Apple stepped in and denied the rumor; the stock then recovered most of its loss. The SEC is investigating. PCWorld looks at the hit taken by citizen journalism as a result of this incident.

"[The] increasingly blurred line between journalism and rumor is a serious concern for Al Tompkins, the broadcast/online group leader at The Poynter Institute — a specialized school for journalists of all media forms. 'How could you possibly allow just anybody to post just anything under your [CNN] label unless you have blazing billboards that say, "None of this has been verified, we've not looked at any of this, we have no idea if this is true?"' he asks."


Anonymous said...

I really don't agree. Anyone that reads a "comment" or a "blog" or an "editorial" that is basically all by itself in its reporting and takes it at face value is making a serious error in judgement. This was clearly a rumor as opposed to reporting.

In a free society anyone can float out a rumor or untruth. The tabloid mags do it everyday. People that pay attention to this kind of thing need to reboot their common sense.

If someone had Apple stock and heard a rumor that Steve had a serious condition and immediately sold it without verifying it or checking to see if there was a multitude of sources or proof/evidence, then as the Blue Collar comedian says--You can't fix Stupid.

Your posts are entirely different and some random guy posting even a significant rumor only causes people to view blog articles more critically--as they should in the first place.

FYT said...

I agree with you anonymous for the most part ... but the stock market (these days) revolves and revels around rumour ...

The other issue is I was termed a citizen journalist - this guy is being termed the same. My ruling called me a citizen journalist and as a source for news.

Verification could come from multiple sources and still not be true if not from the horse's mouth.

It's like the gospel - Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Peter all had different perspectives but all of them were there and saw it first hand. Many of them were considered to be spreading heresy and rumour - Jesus' stock would have plummeted in the modern day ;-)

It isn't right that people don't verify facts - but it happens. It isn't right that I am termed a citizen journalist in the same sense as this random poster was - but it happened.

I hope that I have over the years built up enough trust in my core of users that I am trusted as a source of quality news and educated speculation. That is why - unless I read it on 4 different Mac sites without spin then heard it on the national news - would I trust it and THEN I WOULD POST IT!

Anonymous said...

You are awfully full of yourself.

FYT said...

Better than being empty like an anonymous poster.