Google+ Consumer Psyche: Be Sure or Sore


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Be Sure or Sore

In a highly secret operation, German intelligence teamed up with Indian intelligence to arrest 88-year-old Johaan Bach from the jungles of Khanapur on the Karnataka-Goa border. A man supposedly wanted for his role in the Holocaust and who's name surprisingly bore resemblance to the 18th century composer and even had an 18th century piano for sale.

The news was delivered to the inboxes of media houses on Friday by a group called Perus Narkp and soon went into print. Some even quoted an intelligence official in Karnataka, who insisted Bach had not just been arrested but even moved to Germany. Others had a map of how Bach had evaded arrest elsewhere and landed in Goa.You would think a press release from an unknown group about a war criminal sharing a name with a famous composer being caught in the jungles of Goa trying to sell a stolen 18th-century piano would be worth double-checking. Well apparently not.

Perus Narkp, the agency that sent out the press release does not exist. Rework Perus Narkp and you get 'Super Prank' and its possible source is the Goan blog, allegeldy run by former journalist of the Goan Herald.

So how did the story make it to the papers? How did editors not smell a rat? Were the checks and balances missing?

When you are using some data you need to be doubly sure about the content and the source or else you are courting trouble. Too bad many well known media houses fell for this.


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