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About me

Lies, Damn lies, and Newspaper sales


Warning: This post was published more than 12 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 12 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

It appears that, along with many other people, I was duped into believing a false story. I’ll let the silicon.com Weekly Roundup explain and ridicule:

And finally, still on the subject of questionable journalism, news reached the Round-Up this week that one of the year’s most ridiculous stories was little more than a lie… cheaply concocted to sell papers. (Which is the Round-Up’s slightly self-important way of saying ‘phew, thank God we didn’t write this…)

The saga began with a journalist writing for the Romanian tabloid Libertatea claiming to have found a couple who named their child ‘Yahoo!’ in celebration of the fact they met online.

Even the most copy-hungry newspaper editor, with all manner of serious ear, nose and throat issues should have smelled something a little bit fishy at this point but the journalist concerned, the negatively charged Ion Garnod, had gone to the trouble of backing up his story with a forged birth certificate.

(The Round-Up can’t help thinking at this point that it’s a very telling sign-of-the-times that skilled forgers in Eastern Europe are turning to journalism as a source of income.)

However, as surely as night follows day, fact followed fiction and Garnod was exposed as a liar who made up the story “to make himself look good”.

To do what? To make himself look good!?

Whatever happened to elaborate lies about sexual conquests – perhaps involving twins – or great sporting prowess?

“Alright lads… how’s it going?”
“Good thanks Ion… what’s kept you, you’re very late?”
“Oh, I bumped into this couple who named their baby Yahoo!”
“Wow, you’re the greatest, pull up a chair and let us buy you an absinthe.”

The Round-Up doesn’t know who Garnod hangs out with but really thinks his peer group is way too easily impressed.

What about:

“Yeah sorry about that lads but I bumped into the Cheeky Girls and spent a wild night in a hotel with them…”

Actually, maybe ‘Yahoo!; the baby was the better option after all.

(Apologies at this point to any readers in Romania for having a woeful grasp on who the latest Romanian pin-ups might be… without a doubt there must be better than the Cheeky Girls.)

Simona Ionescu, Garnod’s deputy editor-in-chief, told Reuters “we fired him”, which didn’t exactly tax the shorthand of the Reuters journalist.

Ionescu did go on to say: “If it were real, it would have been a good story indeed.”

No, if it were real it would still have been a story about a couple who named their baby ‘Yahoo!’ let’s not get carried away.

I think I’m right in saying that this is the first time I’ve blogged a completely inaccurate story in twenty-one months of posting, and I’m really quite bothered about having helped spread this myth. I’ll certainly be checking my sources even more closely in future to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

So, apologies for making the mistake, and I’ll trust my source on this a little less from now on (though, in fairness, the VNU Network are normally reliable).

This 283rd post was filed under: News and Comment, Technology.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th December 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th November 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 5th October 2017)

Photo-a-day 11: Za Za Bazaar (published 11th January 2014)

TV On Trial (published 28th March 2005)

Review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (published 3rd October 2012)

Bush on the Phone (published 13th January 2005)

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