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Chapter 14. Media Munchkins and Masters:... > Red Flag 6: Speed Requirements Can L...

Red Flag 6: Speed Requirements Can Leave Reporters Open to Hoaxes

The race to be first with the news among wire services, the broadcast media, and newspaper dot-com web sites means that reporters can be open to manipulation. In the Qwest example that I have mentioned, no news agency journalist had the time to call the company to seek the net income number before putting some headlines out. In an ideal world, the kind of profit being reported would be defined quickly in a headline, and readers would also be told that the company hadn’t disclosed its net income. If there is confusion, investors should hold off on trading until the picture clears. But that isn’t how it works. Within moments of headlines being spat out onto computer terminals around the world, orders are whizzing off to traders, for whom it doesn’t matter whether headlines give the full picture—provided they are making a profit.


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