In the absence of hard facts, and trained journalists, is our online society doomed to regurgitating rumors and treating them as facts? It’s beginning to look that way and nowhere else is it as clear with Apple’s treatment in the media.
Did They? Or, Didn’t They?
This kind of rumor-becomes-fact has been going on forever, of course, but it’s reached a new level with Apple. The most recent episodes probably would have caught Steve Jobs’ hair on fire.
Just within the past few days ‘sources say’ Apple has cut orders for iPhone 5 components by 50-percent. Did they, or didn’t they?
‘Sources say’ Apple’s upcoming entry-level iPhone may have a transparent plastic chassis.
Wait. There’s more. If you read the news over the weekend then you know that Apple’s Mac sales have declined along with the rest of the PC world.
Even Apple is becoming a victim of the iPad. Or, is it? Another study says Apple’s U.S. Mac sales actually grew again last quarter.
In headline after headline something bad is happening to Apple, only to be followed up a day or two or three later with more news (or, conjecture) that contradicts the previous storyline.
Facts are few and hard to come by when it comes to Apple. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that rumors and conjecture are started somewhere and then picked up and regurgitated across the internet and treated as fact, using the tools of ‘sources say’ or ‘sources close to Apple’ or supplier contacts.
News reporting just isn’t what it used to be (if it ever was what it used to be). Online reports thrive on scandalous, controversial headlines which drive up page views, and entice sites all over the internet to link back to their so-called ‘sources.’
Here’s another problem that relates to what Apple experiences on a regular basis. The Wall Street Journal dug into the details and found that CBS, once the home of journalistic integrity admitted that CNET, owned by CBS, had originally picked the Dish Network’s Hopper ad-skipping video device to receive the top award at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Except that CBS honcho Leslie Moonves forced CNET to come up with another choice. Obviously, CBS doesn’t like what the Hopper does to TV watching (and, there’s pending litigation). Whatever happened to journalistic and editorial independence, CBS?
What’s going on?
The proliferation of ‘news sites’ has caused an interesting phenomenon. Journalists don’t need to be trained in the who, what, when, where aspect of traditional fact finding. And, apparently, journalists that do what they do the old fashioned way can easily be overruled by executives with an axe to grind.