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Jobs Rumor Debacle Besmirches Citizen Journalism 286

Posted by kdawson
from the unverified-is-not-the-same-as-unfiltered dept.
On Friday 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."
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Jobs Rumor Debacle Besmirches Citizen Journalism

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  • by mbone (558574) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:39PM (#25268047)

    The stock manipulation possibilities here are pretty big, as is the lawsuit potential.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KGIII (973947) *

      Lawsuit or criminal? When I think of lawsuits I think of civil proceedings. IANAL or anything but wouldn't intentionally tanking the stock of a company via unsubstantiated rumor be criminal? (I don't really know so I'm asking 'cause someone here should surely know.)

      • by maxume (22995) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:48PM (#25268125)

        CmdrTaco is dead. Sell SourceForge now.

        An unsubstantiated rumor is merely an attempt to manipulate a stock, it takes an idiot or ten to actually do it.

      • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:04PM (#25268235) Journal

        ...wouldn't intentionally tanking the stock of a company via unsubstantiated rumor be criminal?

        It better not be. It's up to the actual traders to verify unsubstantiated statements such as this before taking any action. Restrictions on speech have already gone way too far.

        • Eggs in one basket? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:14PM (#25268697)
          It's up to the actual traders to verify unsubstantiated statements such as this before taking any action.

          This is silly, in any case. If Apple is so dependent on the health of one person, they have bigger problems than the antics of a few journalists.

          What are they going to do when Jobs finally does pop his clogs? Sooner or later, that is going to happen, and they need to think about that now rather than later.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by cowscows (103644)

            I'm sure they have. But that doesn't mean that investors won't panic. The stock market is constantly looking for reasons to act irrationally. And the secrecy that Apple tends to practice keeps its investors even more jittery.

          • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:27PM (#25269119)

            What are they going to do when Jobs finally does pop his clogs? Sooner or later, that is going to happen, and they need to think about that now rather than later.

            Nonsense! Sir Jobs is as immortal as he is invincible. You're obviously not listening to your iPod often enough.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by dbIII (701233)
            In the land of Heroes people just think one person in a company does everything.

            It's really time to improve the education of traders, journalists etc so they can take a more mature view of things instead of this comic book simplicity. One nasty side effect of this immaturity is large numbers of talentless wandering CEOs that honestly beleive that their mere presence ensures success. Sometimes they escape the US environment and end up running telecommunications companies in places like Australia to the hor

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by easyTree (1042254)

            What are they going to do when Jobs finally does pop his clogs?

            You've seen futurama, right? There's no reason why he can't run apple from a jar. Stupid FUD-mongers are just trying to cause a panick.

        • by Lally Singh (3427)

          I donno about that. Pump & dump schemes are pretty illegal.

          • by The Second Horseman (121958) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:53PM (#25268917)

            Yeah, but it was unlikely it was someone shorting Apple, isn't it? The SEC has clamped down on selling short right now, right? It's more likely that it was just someone screwing around. As long as they aren't an investor or trader, it's hard to see how they'd actually get in any trouble, any more than the guy who showed up on the BBC supposedly representing DuPont and claiming they were setting up a compensation fund for the people and families of the injured and killed from the Bhopal disaster. It was pretty funny - it put DuPont in the position of having to deny they were going to help people. (DuPont bought Union Carbide a number of years ago). Sure, this stuff can have real consequences, but it's not hard to claim you were just being funny if you have no financial ties.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Miseph (979059)

        Stock manipulation and fraud of that type is actually criminal. The SEC and FTC do not take kindly to people who attempt (and more importantly fail) to game the system like that, and let's just say that the guys from the SEC make the IRS look like harmless kittens.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      "The stock manipulation possibilities here are pretty big, as is the lawsuit potential."

      I dunno...didn't they put a ban on selling short? That would have been nice in this case, but, I think they've banned it at least for now...

  • Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KGIII (973947) * on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:39PM (#25268051) Journal

    Hell? Even 4chan and Slashdot are pretty clear about who owns the comments and the veracity of the comments.

  • by colganc (581174) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:40PM (#25268055)
    People with the burden and responsibility of thinking for theirselves will be able to assess the risks of trusting an unknown information source just fine. New filters have already been created to make the unknown sources trustable. I don't understand why their is an investigation. Now the story has publicity people can assess the risks more correctly. No need for the law to get involved.
    • >>I don't understand why their is an investigation....

      Because a lie caused lots of people to lose money on Apple stock. People can think for themselves, but they do so based on facts, not lies. The SEC should get involved and the person that turned the phrase 'citizen journalism' into an oxymoron can get what they deserved for the consequences of their falsehood. I just with the SEC could punish the roadkill they call golden parachuted, ex-Wall Street CEOs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        On the other end though, there are tons of Mac rumor websites that paint Apple in a very favorable light, by saying all kinds of unverified things that could cause Apple's stock to skyrocket. Such as new models of iPods, Macs, new releases of iTunes, etc.
        • Consider the sources.

          One is a CNN 'citizen journalist site'.

          The other are acknowledged fanbois (Apple spawns both admirers and detractors with a lot of obfuscation and delusion-- and market share).

          There's the burden of responsibility on a 'citizen journalist' site that wouldn't be held in value if say, it was a Britney fan site. Product features and people's imagination are one thing, but declaring that a CEO has had a heart attack after that same CEO's been in the news with pancreatic cancer, is an out and

    • IANAL.

      Everyone seems to be missing the point.

      Reporting an unsubstantiated rumor about someone and subsequently causing the stock to tank is not criminal, and probably not actionable (civil lawsuit) either.

      What the SEC will be investigating is whether the person who created, propagated, or published this rumor stood to profit from it.

      Investigating this possibility is well within the responsibilities of the SEC.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:41PM (#25268067) Homepage

    How could you possibly allow just anybody to post just anything under your [CNN] label unless you have blazing billboards that say

    Which part of "CNN's unverified citizen journalism site" was unclear?

    Okay, so I have to see for myself...

    The site currently is titled "Unedited. Unfiltered. News." [ireport.com] but it really doesn't mention that it is "citizen journalism." It looks like a cross between Digg/Slashdot and CNN. SO I guess someone could be confused. But I bet a big "THIS IS NOT NEWS I JUST MADE IT UP OMG!!" would not have helped Apple's stock that day.

    • by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1@nospaM.verizon.net> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:46PM (#25268109) Homepage
      The problem isn't that's unedited unfiltered, that just means there may be naughty words and curses in it. It should be "unfiltered and unverified" news. A quick look @ the website, even scrolling down, shows no disclaimer that this unverified. Breaking news is fine, so I understand not wanting to take the time to verify, but there should be a disclaimer that it's unverified. And until this story on here, I never heard of it. So I may have taken something on there for fact had I stumbled on it by accident or via google search.
      • Riiiight, much as how /. should have a big disclaimer saying that most things aren't 100% verified, or Engadget, or any other news site. People should be smart enough to figure out the fact from the fiction, and honestly, I don't see how Steve's death is going to make you want to sell your Apple stock, and absolutely not on simply a rumor, just as I won't go out and buy 1000 shares of Apple stock whenever there are "pictures" of the new iPod.
        • by mikesd81 (518581)
          Well, if Jobs moved on, then there would be a management shake up at Apple, which could mean things would be different, either good or bad. Change doesn't go well with people, so I can see them selling out of uncertainty. Slashdot links to articles that have at least been somewhat researched, of you'll see interviews with people which means questions were asked.
          • You must be new-ish here. While it is true that a lot of /. articles are reputable, a lot of others are small blogs or websites that no one has any way of verifying if they are true or not. For all most people know, I could have made up an entire interview, added in a good domain name, and a decent layout and people might actually believe me.
            • by mikesd81 (518581)
              If it's something interesting to me, I actually search for things in his interview and see if it's quoted elsewhere. I've been doing that a lot actually w/ the Raiders coach mess because quotes are being misquoted over and over, and I want to try to get the context as much as I can. I don't ever read slashdot interviews. If I must read a blog, I'll follow a link or 2 to make sure it's reputable, and if there are no links, I close the tab.
        • by multisync (218450) * on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:34PM (#25268807) Journal

          Riiiight, much as how /. should have a big disclaimer saying that most things aren't 100% verified, or Engadget, or any other news site.

          Slashdot isn't a "news site." Slashdot simply links to stories at other sites and gives it's users a forum to discuss them. I have no expectation that Slashdot will take any steps to verify the facts in them. I still need to consider the source of the story Slashdot links to, any evidence provided to back up the story's claims, and my good 'ol bullshit detector. Having something posted on Slashdot isn't a seal of accuracy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by RedWizzard (192002)

        It should be "unfiltered and unverified" news. A quick look @ the website, even scrolling down, shows no disclaimer that this unverified. Breaking news is fine, so I understand not wanting to take the time to verify, but there should be a disclaimer that it's unverified. And until this story on here, I never heard of it. So I may have taken something on there for fact had I stumbled on it by accident or via google search.

        So if you stumbled on some random "news" site on the net you'd automatically assume it was verified news? That sounds pretty naive to me. Do you assume everything you read on Slashdot is verified by the editors? iReport.com makes no claim that the stories are verified and the connection to CNN is fairly subtle (a small faint "powered by CNN" logo at the bottom and an ad stating that iReport stories had been used on CNN). I don't see any reason to assume that the stories on that site are verified. The "about

        • by mikesd81 (518581)
          No. I expect the articles linked are verified. If it's a blog, I don't even bother reading usually. Yay! The disclaimer is on the about page. It should be on the MAIN page. I feel Cnet or Associated Press or other mainstream news outlets do some research. If you look @ some of the stories I've posted and got accepted, I link to actual news sites. Sometimes, I even double check other articles from other people before I read the summary and comment, just to make sure it's not something someone saw somewhere o
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Maybe, instead of worrying about rumors on these socnet "news" sites, these "journalistic watchdogs" might want to spend a little time thinking about the way mainstream journalism let down a country of more than 300 million by completely missing the fact that a presidential administration started a fucking war based upon nothing but lies and misdirection. Instead of jumping on the wagon and cheerleading this horrible rush to war, they might have checked a few facts themselves before going to print, day aft

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      That heading sounds like Firehose on Slashdot. I'd expect it to be an unedited feed from CNN's correspondents. Not completely random crap.

    • The good news is, continued antics like this are going to make Jobs bullet-proof. It's the "boy who cried wolf" scenario: pull this prank enough times and nobody will ever believe that Jobs has died, even if he actually does.

  • by djupedal (584558) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:41PM (#25268079)
    Wait until Apple's (liti)gators surface - CNN will wish that 'besmirched' was the extent of the damage.
  • by inzy (1095415) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:42PM (#25268081)

    ...but with the financial system. maybe we should be looking instead at how vast sums of money can be moved into and out of a company in seconds? episodes like this have shown the instability of the share market, and the craziness of the finance market. everything is built upon smoke and mirrors - performance counts for little, while perception, lies and marketing rule the day

    and why are the traders who sold off their shares paying attention to unverified sources like ireport? well, probably because the trader next to them did; it's all got to a point of 'following the herd' rather than making decisions based on financial judgement.

    90% of trades based on speculation? what do you expect?

    • by dakameleon (1126377) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:24PM (#25268359)

      maybe we should be looking instead at how vast sums of money can be moved into and out of a company in seconds?

      This depends on whether it was a pure volume move or a price move - "vertical" drops are generally price moves, where someone will put in a ludicrously low offer price - which is snapped up, and records as a massive down-tick on the traded price graph. Once a couple of trades are made at a low price, the bids are going to stay low and force offers lower. Voila, price drop.

      Exchanges have protections to stop ridiculous offer prices from gaming the system, but I guess 10% isn't outside their parameters.

      and why are the traders who sold off their shares paying attention to unverified sources like ireport? well, probably because the trader next to them did; it's all got to a point of 'following the herd' rather than making decisions based on financial judgement.

      The trader is probably hoping that he's not following the herd - hoping for a time advantage by hanging out at the 'fast-moving' frontiers of 'news'. Watch for a twitter-induced stock drop next.

    • I mean would you be "besmirching" an anonymous coward? Oh, by the way AMD cannot get credit and is going to loose it's fabrication contracts. You heard it on slashdot first!!!
  • Fear and greed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lymond01 (314120) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:46PM (#25268107)

    If I recall even the article writer wasn't sure it was true and said as much. It's typical of the stock market to rise and fall on the possibility of something happening. I'm surprised Apple's stock isn't in the toilet already -- they must think Steve Jobs is immortal...

    • by caluml (551744)
      Yes - if so many people are obviously concerned about Steve Jobs dying, then perhaps they should sell their stock while they're ahead?
    • Well, some investors have already practiced at this sort of thing [gawker.com].

      A fool and his money are very quickly parted. I mean really sheeples, lay off the triple shot espresso. Stock markets aren't supposed to be a first person shooter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      they must think Steve Jobs is immortal...

      ...or they lack the imagination or foresight to think more than 3 minutes into the future and can't predict that he will have an ultimate demise.

  • Breaking news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:50PM (#25268139)

    This is just in, Microsoft is filling for bankruptcy.

    Phew, a chance I just coincidentally bought a shitload of puts [wikipedia.org] on MSFT. Market prediction? Fuck that, it's easier to predict the weather when you know how to make shit start to rain.

  • by owlnation (858981) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:53PM (#25268161)
    So this, like the previous wikipedia story basically hinge on the fact that people -- who should really know much better -- are believing stuff they read on the internet from dubious sources. (anything on Wikipedia is likely to be dubious at least to some degree)

    You believe stuff you read on the internet, you get burned, quel surprise?

    It ain't karma, it's just stupidity. It is admittedly disturbing -- and yet unsurprising considering recent world financial events -- that the stupidity in question in this case involves people who work in the stock market.
    • by Robert1 (513674) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:13PM (#25268293) Homepage

      I don't think people care so much about the stock brokers who stupidly sold because they believe what they read on the internet. The problem is everyone else who is losing money for no reason other then owning the same stock a small group of idiotic investors.

      It seems highly unreasonable that a company can lose tens of millions (hundreds? billions?) on random investors being retarded. The real victim here is the companies and their employees.

      There was a story a month back about google news accidentally running a 2 year old article about an airline filing for bankruptcy. Within a few hours the company had lost several BILLION dollars - poof - evaporated. BECAUSE OF A COMPUTER GLITCH ON A NEWS SITE. The company did not do anything wrong, had made no dramatic business decisions, had not had their entire fleet blow up, yet was royally fucked because investors didn't bother to check their sources.

      So the ultimate question is how do you prevent shit like this from happening? I have no idea, I really can't conceive of anyway to regulated the behavior of traders when it comes to false news stories. More depressingly, the ability for these things to occur illustrates a fundamental - unfixable - flaw in the current method of stock exchange. Again, a problem for which I can't think of any workable replacement.

  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chas (5144) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @07:56PM (#25268185) Homepage Journal

    As one of a group who received a C&D from a game company over a CLEARLY labelled April Fool's Day joke about a decade back, on a hobby site where we REALLY weren't monitoring who our traffic was (thinking "Us and all of our NO readers"). Turns out the site had become a news dissemination portal for various game retailers, and when they viewed the joke page, they panicked before actually reading the WHOLE page and called the game company up to freak out at.

  • That word always makes me laugh.

  • What it "besmirches" is (1) stock speculation and people who fall for that and (2) companies that are propped up by irrational exuberance and illusions.

  • The SEC is investigating.

    Well, that's just a link to another blog. Why would I trust a blogger to tell me that some blogger is being investigated by the SEC for misleading blogging? Oh wait, it's got a link to a bloomberg.com article. But who wrote that one? Connie Guglielmo? Who's that? Is she another "citizen journalist"? Hmmm... dunno. Well, at least her posting consists of something more than "I heard from a friend who's, like, totally reliable."

    • Oh wait, it's got a link to a bloomberg.com article.

      Bloomberg? Oh, well. Totally reliable, then. After all, they would never "accidently" republish an old story about Jobs being dead.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:00PM (#25268213)

    Please, the presumption that this only happens because of "citizen" journalists is comical in face of all the intentional distortions, spin, bias, poor fact checking, and general incompetence of the general media.

    Most columnists have such big axes to grind that that's all they are... a walking talking cause. Most of the reporters are both sloppy and lazy. Most of the anchors and tv personalities are just talking heads... mindless twits with million dollar smiles and/or the ability to spin like a quasar.

    Citizen journalists are if anything worse however unlike regular journalists they've not given the benefit of the doubt on issues. When they report something we need verification. That is the value of citizen journalists. They're good because we don't trust them. If we could all be as dubious of regular journalists then they'd have some value. But we do trust them... and that leaves us open to deceit.

  • Nonsense. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:02PM (#25268219) Journal
    Seriously, investors knock 10% off the value of Apple's stock because somebody anonymously posted a rumor on the internet and this is "citizen journalism"'s fault? Bullshit. Is everybody who falls for a 419 scam also a black eye for citizen journalism? By these standards, every time a political campaign inserts a letter to the editor under a false name, the very foundations of the mainstream media are called into question. This is idiocy.

    Ok people, I know that those of you who get to write for the real media want this to be important, it isn't, suck it up. Anyway, repeat after me: "Anybody can say anything on the internet, this doesn't make it true."
    • Re:Nonsense. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:09PM (#25268263) Homepage Journal

      Seriously, investors knock 10% off the value of Apple's stock because somebody anonymously posted a rumor on the internet and this is "citizen journalism"'s fault? Bullshit.

      Right, they're gamblers instead of investors. The reliance on brand-new unverified stories is so they can guess what everyone else will do, and do it first.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cryptoluddite (658517)

        Right, they're gamblers instead of investors.

        Which is why a tax on trades is in order. Make the cost to play to gamble on stock high enough that people don't do it, but the cost to invest longer term still pays. People don't professionally gamble because most of the games are rigged in favor of the house -- over the long term you can't win against the house by gambling. Stock gambling should be the same way.

        I believe the democrats suggested this for part of the bailout bill. I think it was shot down though as part of a 'compromise'.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I really hope citizen journalism hasn't become the very foundations of mainstream media. Nor letters to the editor, for that matter.

      A high profile citizen journalism story that is a lie gives citizen journalism a black eye. Of course, citizen journalism was already a rotting corpse floating in sewage, so the black eye really is just par for the course.

  • Trust but verify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AEton (654737) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:06PM (#25268245)

    Guys, this is not new.

    Some people on /b/ spent an hour early Friday morning discussing how they could make up a rumor that people were likely to believe, just for the lulz. Eventually, and basically by accident, someone decided that a Steve Jobs rumor would work just fine. He posted a fake but almost plausible story on iReport and digg ("I just saw paramedics take Steve Jobs away, he had a heart attack!") and got hundreds or thousands of /b/ users to Digg it.

    I saw this conversation happening live. It's pretty cool that tens of thousands of random anonymous people can change world markets, huh?

    The story was obviously fake, and any careful reader of Digg would've immediately noticed the 4chan references in the comments. Naturally there were no careful readers; blogs which have never been very good about checking their sources reported the joke as a real rumor, and small parts of the "real media" started to pick up the story.

    The beleaguered stock hit its 52-week low on Friday, although it regained some value after Apple issued an official denial. The SEC has demanded (and received) docs from CNN on the /b/tard who submitted the iReport story.

    There's nothing new here, guys. Real media have always known that you need to trust your sources, and if the free market and the "new media" blogs can't figure that out, they're dumber than we give them credit for.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      rules 1 and 2 dude...

      I heard ebaumsworld did it.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      The story was obviously fake, and any careful reader of Digg would've immediately noticed the 4chan references in the comments. Naturally there were no careful readers; blogs which have never been very good about checking their sources reported the joke as a real rumor, and small parts of the "real media" started to pick up the story.

      Only a small fraction of internet users 'get' /b/ jokes.
      And reading the comments would not immediately lead someone to think the story was /b/.

      Most people would take it at face value.
      And most people did, because they have not learned to ignore CNN like they've learned to ignore Yahoo's Stock Boards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Moop11 (1141137)
      I also saw it happening on /b/ the night before I read the news about Apples stock going down. Recently they got Oprah to say "over 9000 penises" on her show.  They sure love it when people take them seriously.
  • by randomc0de (928231) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:10PM (#25268269)
    The Bloomberg/Google slipup a while back also caused large-scale losses, in that instance to United Airlines. Bloomberg actually stated that it does not verify the accuracy of news from other sources. Basically, it trusted Google to do the verification.

    This is actually the way it should be. Using automated trading and real-time news to speculate on the stock market should, on average, lose you money. It gives negative inducement to speculation. Investments need to be chosen based on real data, and concrete value. Not based on what you think others will do.

    If this is a legitimate case of attempted manpulation, the SEC can do its job. If not, it's a small loss that should have been factored into any risk calculations when the investors decided to trade like this.
  • Shorting Stocks (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by whisper_jeff (680366)
    At some point, they need to make shorting stocks illegal. I'm not an economist and I'm sure one will be happy to point out some perfectly valid reason for shorting stocks to be permitted but, I'm sorry, the ability to short stocks results in far too much outright stock manipulation in a very negative way that hurts even a healthy economy (and we all know how far from healthy this economy is...).
    • You don't need to be an economist, you just have to look at the visible effect of the most recent short-sale ban. The result for all of the instruments that couldn't be short-sold? Many players pulled out because the inability to sell short would have put them at too much risk. The markets thinned out, and the difference between the best bid and the best offer widened up because the few remaining players were on high guard. The result for average investors? Basically, higher transaction costs, since y

  • Given the number of lies [factcheck.org] that went unchallenged by the mainstream media after the vice presidential debate, I find it hard to trust the mainstream media any more than anyone else. Journalistic integrity is at an extremely low level and our only option is to do all the research ourselves. The only sad thing is that we have no legal recourse to do anything about these bastard liars except for to boycott them.
    • The only sad thing is that we have no legal recourse to do anything about these bastard liars except for to boycott them.

      Have you never watched a cable news show in your life? (And honestly I would say that you were lucky if you haven't), there are tons of ways to make them look to facts. E-mail them, call in, tell rival news stations about their mistakes, etc. There is tons of ways you can ruin a journalist's reputation, and journalism isn't something that we have a total monopoly on (unlike, say, the operating system market).

  • '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."

    Why should "citizen journalists" be held to a higher standard? As the recent Bloomberg screwup on the same subject reminds us, it's not like you verify anything your "professional" journalists produce.

  • The SEC made naked short selling illegal. Hedge funds manipulated stock on a massive scale in just this way, and had no other interest than making the stock move the way it wanted it to move so as to make money. It's galling that the gubment has wait so long to step on obvious quasi-legal schemes to protect investors..
  • Welcome, Internet. You take every baboon, idiot, and moron and give them the opportunity to be heard at the same level of volume as every other individual out there. You then take a news agency, wanting to capitalize on not having to pay stringers constantly, and provide said speech free to the world.

    I laugh.

    I spent 5 years in college doing photojournalism, 4 years in High school, and 2 years in middle school- all with a camera plastered to my hip and face. My life was defined in photos of other people. Now out, I look forth and see every person with a cell phone camera capturing daily drivel and spouting it off as 'news'. News is immediate and important based on locality- ie, it's important if you shoot it because it's important to you- the rest of the world (more likely than not) just doesn't give a shit. However- and here is where the internet and CNN step in- you now have a distribution model to *make* it important.

    So the health of Steve Jobs is suspect- we all know that. Apple hid it from the world so the stock price wouldn't tank. Apple has done it to itself by not being candid in the past- and has reinforced the notion that if the almighty master suffers the company will suffer. Had they suffered this price dump in the past the future wouldn't revolve around every little sniffle.

    Investigate all you want- Even if the stock was manipulated many people took profit at the news- because they recognized the inherit fear that Apple has now linked itself to Steve Job's life.

    Thus, I give you my opinion on citizen journalism: http://xkcd.org/481/ [xkcd.org]
    *please note that this post itself citizen journalism and the author is subject to the same rant he inflicts upon others.

  • The citizen jounalism isn't the problem; it's the ridiculously gullible stock investors. How many times most they be burned before they start learning basic fundamentals of life?

    The fact that stocks can consistently be played by unverified rumors posted on an open public forum... well, money flows from the stupid to the smart. Note that the stock price has recovered, but Darwin has shifted it into better hands.
  • There is little 'newsworthiness' to what gets reported in the 'citizen journalism' fashion that it does on CNN -or anywhere else. 'Citizen journalism' is best relegated to cat-up-a-tree or man bites dog drivel that hardly warrants even a passing glance. What it does represent is the attempt by 'news' networks to boost their viewer ratings by getting fools to post questionable content to their website. Marketing disguised as 'journalism' should be viewed with the most jaundiced of eyes.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki@cWELTYox.net minus author> on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:49PM (#25268545)

    Fake Steve Jobs' writer had a real heart attack?

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @08:51PM (#25268563)
    Online bullshit hurt a company that trades stocks based on bullshit. Big fucking deal. Apple, like many other companies that are traded publicly depend on bullshit news to drive their stock value up. I'll simply chalk this one up for the good guys, because it hurt Apple's stock value. If there is one lesson that we all need to learn... Its that an economy that runs on bullshit, is wrong and will fail in time. And that is why our government is handing out 840 billion dollars in corporate. We run on bullshit, we legislate based on bullshit... the entire thing is one big Wizard Of Oz scenario. Its all a giant pile of shit behind the curtain. Fuck truth... bet on bullshit to win.
  • "[The] increasingly blurred line between journalism and rumor is a serious concern for Al Tompkins, the broadcast/online group leader at The Poynter Institute â" 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."

    Probably because they would have to show that same billboard wrapped around 75% of what they report.

  • by cybereal (621599) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:03PM (#25268629) Homepage

    I firmly believe that this type of event is in the long term best interest of all parties.

    Even before the proliferation of untrusted individual reporting becoming trusted (read: blogs) the large news agencies have been blindly trusted by nearly everyone. Everyone is shocked when it's revealed that the reports they read in their papers were outright wrong, or even lies.

    Everything we can do to impact every day Joe in a way that gets them thinking critically about news reports will benefit us in the long run. We will, hopefully, become less impacted by propaganda compaigns, as well as less likely to react to news/media reports irrationally and impulsively.

    Of course, I admit that this is some kind of massive wishful thinking but, man... wouldn't it be nice to see some random jerk on the street see a newspaper and murmer "I wonder if that's true." instead of "OMG PONIES!?"

  • Well, let's see how "professional journalism" is doing over at the National Inquirer. Today's headlines:

    • "Patrick Swayze takes turn for worse - TV show shuts down!"
    • "Sleazemaster Larry Flynt XXX 'Palin' flick."
    • "Feds eye steamy Lara Logan 'war crimes'."

    "Got Gossip? We'll pay big bucks. Click or email us. Click here. [nationalenquirer.com]"

    • by rob1980 (941751)
      When has anybody considered the National Inquirer to be professional journalism?!
  • Steve Jobs = Apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Generic Guy (678542) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:15PM (#25268703)

    I think the main takeaway from all this nonsense, aside from stupidity on Wall Street for believing anything and everything, is how frighteningly Apple's fortunes are tightly bound to Steve Jobs specifically.

    Bill Gates slowly receded from the limelight at Microsoft, and allowed Ballmer and others to grow into their roles the market's mind. Jobs hasn't really done this yet at Apple. Apple has a few shining lights, but the top of the (Apple) tree is still very clearly The Steve.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @09:29PM (#25268777) Homepage

    We get the evidence of this over and over. Information of any kind; speculation; fear; panic; This is no way to base an economy.

    We are off of the gold standard -- something that wouldn't fluctuate so badly as this. Not saying whether or not going off the gold standard was a bad idea, I just see that basing the US economy on this is just bad. Money is created and destroyed out of thin air. This is a voodoo magic market and economy. 700 billion won't fix this problem. What it will do is enable people to keep on doing what they did that allows this sort of thing to happen.

  • Face it, the stock market is gambling. You are gambling with your money, betting that the multitude of variables that could come together to clusterfuck your investments don't do that and you get some kind of marginal gain.

    Caveat emptor, future stock buyer, caveat emptor.

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:05PM (#25268977)

    Apple's stock price went vertical, losing 9% before Apple stepped in and denied the rumor

          Apple stock has been declining for several months now from around $180/share in May. There was nothing unusual in Friday's price movement when compared to the previous two trading days. On Oct 3rd AAPL traded between $98.20 and $106.40 per share, with a daily volume of 12.512M shares traded. On Oct 4th the range was between $95.30 and $102.33, with a volume of 12.739M shares, and Friday it traded between 95.43 and 101.23, and the volume was lighter - with only 11.4M shares traded. This is consistent with the downtrend for the previous 5 months. If you want to buy Apple stock at this point, feel free to become a long term investor.

          Although it's understandable that Apple would strive to correct rumors about the health of their founder and CEO as soon as possible, these rumors were NOT the cause of the long term down-trend in Apple stock since May's highs, nor were they the cause of volatility that is completely in line with today's market conditions - especially when you compare the price movement in the stock with Friday's S&P 500 index, they line up almost perfectly with the general sell-off in the whole market that happened immediately after the vote on the financial relief package. People tend to buy the rumor and sell the news. This is nothing special.

          I'm sure a handful of bloggers would love to think that they can move the entire stock market, or even a single highly traded stock, so easily, however we traders quickly learn that the market is smarter than all of us, and as the US government is about to find out, it also has more money than any of us, no matter how rich we are.

  • by gelfling (6534) on Sunday October 05, 2008 @10:40PM (#25269193) Homepage Journal

    But when Matt Drudge does it it's called 'new journalism'. Still bullshit though.

    Rule #1: Everyone is bullshitting you, everyone lies all the time for their own advantage.
    Rule #2: The internet makes rule #1 more efficient.

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