Insanity on dem dar internets: or a renenewed need for credible sources.

Remember how you learned about the game of “telephone” in grade school, where someone said something in one persons ear- and then you kept “repeating it” around the room- and how the beginning didn’t match the end? Well- welcome to telephone on steroids. It’s called the Internet and it can be dangerous.
This morning I got the e-mail about the books Sarah Palin wanted banned- which was total BS. The list has been circulated for years- and attributed to a bunch of people. Sites like www.snopes.com are good for fact checking- as it was for the Palin story: http://www.snopes.com/politics/palin/bannedbooks.asp

However, how would you like it if all of a sudden it’s been “reported” that your company is in bankruptcy?

It wasn’t only Fannie and Freddie shareholders who had a rough day. As we mentioned, their stock prices plummeted on news of the Treasury Department’s rescue plan.

But at least they weren’t reported to have gone bankrupt like United Airlines. Apparently a paper down in Florida grabbed an old Chicago Tribune story from United’s actual bankruptcy back in 2002, slapped today’s date on it and put it online.

You can imagine what happened next. Friday United closed at $12.30 a share. It was down to $11.92 before trading was stopped today — closed off $1.40.

And again: Not bankrupt.

Marketplace > Rundown for September 8, 2008.

Or, that you died? Which is what hit the press a few weeks ago with Steve Jobs:

http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/08/28/how-steve-jobs-obit-got-published/

He introduced the new iPod’s yesterday- and started with the Twain quote ““The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

And, then, we get to the despicable- slander dressed up as legit- as in this post by the “Dick and Shannon’s LA Progressive” where Sarah Palin takes the heat for saying something I can hardly believe- all without credible proof.

An educated, aware, sophisticated public should be able to see through this crap- but, apparently, we’re not there yet. If there ever was a time that we’ve needed credible, fact-checking- and some sort of system for legitimately tracking sources- it’s now. I also can’t stress enough how important education is- because idiots will believe other idiots in large numbers. There is no other excuse for Hitler- or for George W. Bush, being allowed to run a country.

And, if you are reading this- I hope you fact check the hell out of what I write- and correct me when wrong. That’s the whole reason that this Web 2.0 thing is so important- in business, politics and in running our mouths. Or else- we’ll just have insanity.

Oh yeah, and, that requirement for holding stock for a year- maybe, that might give companies like United time to correct factually wrong information before too much damage is done.

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2 Responses

  1. Billy Jackson September 10, 2008 / 2:02 pm
    This was a very good article David. I worked in a congressional office this summer, and a number of people were upset when the congressman said that he supported the GI Bill. These people said, “no, he’s a liar, he voted against it.” Little did they know that they were only looking at the first version of the bill, not the one that was passed into law. I am reminded of this because in my school paper, a kid makes this same exact mistake.
  2. David Esrati September 10, 2008 / 2:05 pm

    @Billy- if all politicians blogged about their positions and their votes- at the time they make them, we’d have a lot less noise in figuring out what’s right- and what’s horse-hockey.
    I think it should be required.

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