This “story” that WHIOTV ran today, is a prime example of manufactured news.
Unfortunately- I can’t embed it here, like I can the well produced and much more factual story run by the Columbus station that got the story first.
This was a laptop that I found on Craigslist. I sent my employee- Matthew Sliver (not Michael as they first call him) to Columbus with another employee to buy it. I told him what to look for- and for them to take a picture of the buyer- since he didn’t have the box or disks that went with it. I was the one who made the initial contact and who paid for the computer. This was on July 5th 2012.
When they brought it back- and I started to look through the machine- I found software registered to a man not named “Joe”- and googled him, to find out he was a doctor in Columbus. The computer had been stolen out of his wife’s BMW 6 weeks previous. He wasn’t interested in the computer as much as in other personal items that had been stolen from the car. He’d filed a police report- but had heard nothing.
Since Joe had offered a choice between 2 laptops when I called him- I contacted a grade school friend of mine who is a Columbus PD detective. He put me in contact with his lieutenant- and we coordinated the sting. Matthew drove back to Columbus and the cops made the bust before he’d even started the process.
Turned out “Joe” not only had 3 other stolen laptops in his car- he was due in court the next day for “receiving stolen property.” More laptops.
The doctor, as the story said, didn’t request the laptop back, and actually persuaded the Columbus police not to demand its return for “evidence.”
Cox media has suffered huge losses in revenue due to Craigslist and their loss of their classified ad revenue. They love to run stories about the perils of Craigslist. This was a prime example. We’ve bought and sold many pieces of equipment on Craigslist, all without incident. The fact that criminals use Craigslist to unload stolen goods is no different than them using ebay, pawn shops or any other way of selling goods- but let’s not let this get in the way of making up news to suit our own purposes.
If WHIO wanted to get real news- they wouldn’t have had to rely on the Columbus station that cued them into this success story of the Columbus PD at arresting a criminal, and point out that Matthew went above and beyond in volunteering to meet with this criminal and help the police recover other stolen goods. This shouldn’t have been a story about the perils of Craigslist as much as it should have been a story about a good citizen, doing the right thing, and helping police take a scumbag off the street.
And while Matthew does work in social media- he’s an account executive/account planner for The Next Wave, and we’re damn proud of him and hope when you need smart, savvy help with marketing problems, you call him first. 937-228-4433
And- if you want to see how a real TV station reports the story- getting the facts a lot clearer and telling the story without bias watch the Columbus stations news:
Channel 7 is as sloppy as their “newspaper”- facts take the back seat.