Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The following people are not dead: Rick Astley,...

Rick Astley is dead. Or so said CNN's iReport earlier today.
They were followed by a herd of news websites who fell for yet another fake-celebrity-death story. Twitter was briefly offline, such was the strain of traffic and message boards filled up with sympathetic messages.
The rumour went that Astley - who has been the subject of more internet hoaxes than any other human being (1)(2)- was found dead in a Berlin hotel. CNN and its vloggers should have known better.
The episode raises questions over the current fad for news-by-tweet. Now that major news organisations are so desperate to be on top of the rumour mill, it paves the way for media anarchy.
Even the Iranian election has been covered on CNN et al. via unverifiable messages posted on Twitter and Facebook, leaving the gullable networks wide open to manipulation.
Why should we trust CNN and the rest if they are looking to us for their cues? We're totally unreliable!
The media need to pull back from this style of reporting before all credibility is lost.

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