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Newsletter #390 Preview: The Consequences of Posting Fake Stories

When someone writes about “the good old days,” it ages them. It means they’ve been around long enough to have survived another era. For me, I still remember when you couldn’t get away with one-tenth of the nonsense that has become the stock and trade of today’s shock jocks, but when it comes to yellow journalism, that’s existed for ages.

But the most damaging episode of the past week didn’t come from a news source with a reputation with gossip above facts. In fact, Engadget is supposed to be a pretty responsible information source, so when they published a story about the possibility of major delays in the delivery of the iPhone and Mac OS X Leopard, people listened and believed.

Indeed, Apple’s stock price took nosedive, losing a billions of dollars in value in the space of just a few minutes, as the news spread to the ends of the planet. Or at least those portions of the planet where investors cared about such things.

The story allegedly emerged from a source inside Apple, and apparently looked authentic enough to elude Engadget’s fact checkers, so they published the report, and all hell followed!

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.