Best comment left on the whiny L.A. Times Comment blog on How would we have reacted if TMZ had been wrong about Michael Jackson’s death? Mikeman drops a bowling ball on CNN’s foot.
“This article gets it all wrong. TMZ is not a professional website. It appeals to unprofessional people… people who follow celebrities’ lives. Speed is more important than fact. On the other hand, Drudge Report appeals to the professional, and is faster than other MSM sources. It accomplishes this by adding simple notations when a story has not been confirmed (such as writing the headline as a question, or indicating the report is unconfirmed). The speed of the alerts can be absolutely critical, and it’s success has endangered the relevancy of the overly cautious MSM sources running on obsolete printing press and broadcast rules, in which an error or untrue rumor could seriously hurt the reputation of the source. Drudge can simply say it: “false alarm”. No one gets upset because everyone understands the fickleness of rumor. On the internet, it’s either true or it is false, and I can just check back in 20 minutes to make sure. In print, delaying news is safer than reporting rumors because if your competitors release a more verified report even hours after you submit a rumor, they get the worm. CNN really is dead. Long live Drudge.”
Check back in 20 minutes on the progress of the “hot news doctrine.” First Amendment lawyers are trying to challenge the “free-riding” of aggregators (Drudge). Woot. We all know that it’s the newspapers that are free-riding the benefit of links.