Keep Your Radar Tuned for Falsehoods on Internet

There was a breaking news report by Radar this afternoon that Chief Justice John Roberts planned to announce his immediate resignation from the U.S. Supreme Court due to personal reasons. The report originated from the gossip website Radar online and was quickly linked on DrudgeReport, Huffington Post and Village Voice among others. When the claim was denied, Radar took down the story and the other sites did so as well.
For Radar, it gave them some instant credibility with mainstream media and got the denizens of the internet humming with speculation. As Medialite pointed out, the move by Radar gave them their 15 minutes of fame.

It’s an interesting move on the part of Radar, one that gave them, literally, their 15 minutes of fame. And it was completely successful: write an “exclusive,” completely false piece on something the blog has no expertise on and watch the links and hits roll in. Since no one goes to Radar expecting factual coverage of the Supreme Court, the fact that they are completely unreliable when it comes to their political coverage is irrelevant. Sure, next time they publish a political bombshell exclusive, no one will take them seriously, but their bread-and-butter stories on Brangelina and Tiger Woods remain unscathed.

What this teaches is that false rumors, innuendo and wrongful information can harm a brand, company or individual instantaneously on the internet. A failure to actively monitor what’s being said about your brand, company, self or client can cause undue harm in a rapid way.

Keep your “radar” tuned at all times.

Tom Cosentino

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