When so many rumors come flying through the interwebtuals at a high rate of speed, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up. And, unfortunately, it's rather easy to get duped.
So that leads several – likely those who have never seen another human being naked (in person) or people who spent their formative years in a hole similar to the prison in Dark Knight Rises – to create fake Twitter accounts for respected reporters by changing just one letter or using an upper-case I in place of a lower-case l in a Twitter handle (see what l mean?). It’s happened to Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, Jim Salisbury and others, and, when it does, thousands are fooled into thinking their team just pulled off a ridiculous trade. Usually, the media is there to quickly debunk such pranks… but sometimes they, too, fall for the ruse.
Enter Philly.com, home of the Inquirer and – checks to make sure it still prints – the Daily News.
Last night, on their highest of cheeses blog, they took the baton on a fake Hunter Pence to the Giants trade rumor reported by Ken Rosenthai, ran with it, and dove across the finish line:
Oops. A few poor souls were perplexed at the news:
Their Twitter account quickly backtracked:
Weren't the only ones? No, just the only local paper of record.
We have a good idea who was responsible for the rush to report, but it’s not worth naming names. Everyone makes mistakes. Of course, if, say, a blog were to do this, media types would be all over it, stepping up on their ink-stained soapboxes to slam new media and the rush to be first instead of accurate. They’d sound like Frank Langella’s Richard Nixon and start shouting things like: These blogs always get things wrong. It’s part of their culture. But not newspapers. Look, when you’re working at the paper of record, you got to do a lot of things sometimes that are not always in the strictest sense, accurate, but you do them because they’re in the greater good of the dying business. And what I’m saying is that when Philly.com does it, that means it’s not illegal.
I actually wrote that whole thing out while using Langella’s Frost/Nixon voice, which, oddly, sounds very similar to my Bane voice. Seriously, just change one inflection and, boom, the masked man. Ah, you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!
Anyway, all the Philly.com folks had to do was a quick check of followers on that fake Rosenthal account. They didn’t. They just repeated the news as gospel.