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Lies, Damn lies, and Newspaper sales

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 13 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. Not everything that is old is bad. It can be interesting to see how 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 very well have changed in the 13 years since I wrote this post. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find pretty embarrassing today.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

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 3rd May 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 1st April 2018)

World TB Day (published 24th March 2018)

A big Brown mess (published 6th October 2007)

Outcry over creation of GM smallpox virus (published 22nd January 2005)

False acronymic etymology (published 18th May 2007)

Another British instituion mercilessly destroyed (published 5th October 2006)


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