Daniel Eran Dilger
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Teen reported Steve Jobs’ fake heart attack

Daniel Eran Dilger

The fraudulent report of Steve Jobs’ heart attack that never actually happened was originated by an 18 year old with unclear motives. The motives of those repeating the story were very clear however.
A Bloomberg brief noted that the teen’s fraudulent report was uploaded to CNN’s iReport website and then immediately published without any fact checking by SiliconAlleyInsider blogger Henry Blodget, a former Merrill Lynch analyst who was charged with civil securities fraud by the SEC in 2003.

The false report and subsequent syndication caused Apple’s stock to plummet, erasing $4.8 billion in market capitalization in an hour. The stock later rebounding somewhat after the piece was retracted. The SEC has opened an investigation into the motives behind the report, the results of which are still inconclusive.

Blodget defended his publishing of the rumor without any credible substantiation or fact checking in a piece that claimed “online journalism occupies a new and unique niche in the media continuum,” and encouraged web viewers to “post hate mail about our link to Steve Jobs heart attack report.”

“Most of our readers were grateful that we drew their attention to the iReport story,” Blodget wrote. “You, our readers, are smart enough to know the difference between rumors and facts, and you are smart enough to evaluate what we tell you. As long as we are clear about what we know, where the information came from, and what we think of it, we are confident that you will give it the weight it deserves.”

“’Evaluate it for themselves’…,” one reader responded, “How can a reader be expected to evaluate this story? You reported a lie.”

In his own SEC investigation, Blodget reported that he “settled the charge without admitting or denying the allegations, agreed to pay a fine and ‘disgorgement’ totaling $4 million, and agreed to a permanent prohibition against working in the securities industry.”

“Given the current state of my reputation,” Blodget wrote in Slate, “along with the other considerations laid out below, readers may want to take everything I say with a grain of salt.”

Merrill Lynch > Securities Fraud Lawsuit
Some preliminary conclusions. Part 13 – By Henry Blodget – Slate Magazine

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  • monkyhead

    Some say it’s not a lie if you just say “some say so.”

  • Gatesbasher

    According to the Republicans, it’s not a lie if you repeat it often enough, and of course if you’re in power, YOU determine what’s true or not. Then they make fun of poor saps like you in the “Reality-Based Media” for giving a damn one way or the other.

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran

    Some say love, It is a river that drowns the tender ring.

  • tundraboy

    Why do we still keep hearing from this Henry Blodget fellow?

  • gwn

    As usual, cogent and precise, entertaining.

    Except it’s:
    “Some say love, it is a river,
    That drowns, the tender reed”

    Unless you were paraphrasing to make some obtuse (to me at least) point?

  • Per Grenerfors

    If I were his boss, I’d fire him. Let’s say this actually happen, how is it possible for him to get a new job in journalism?

  • Joel

    Is this the same blogger : http://www.forbes.com/2003/01/06/cx_da_0106topnews.html ..?

    “The National Association of Securities Dealers has informed the famed former Internet analyst that he could face regulatory charges over his research picks while at Merrill Lynch. The NASD has also said it is now investigating Blodget’s supervisors as part of its probe into conflicts of interest on Wall Street. ”

    If you do a web search its around the sixth link…

  • hodari

    it tells us how much the company is worth

  • gus2000

    “Given my conviction as a murderer, along with other considerations like the gun I am holding, you may wish to duck.”

    You’ve been warned!

    P.S. Thanks for getting Bette Midler stuck in my head.

  • http://www.lowededwookie.com lowededwookie

    “You, our readers, are smart enough to know the difference between rumors and facts…”

    Clearly they are not because if this was the case then Apple’s stock wouldn’t have dropped like that. Essentially the readers who will take this to heart control how well a company does so news like this has a negative effect. I would be demanding money from the market and the blogger who bought this post to the open but I would actually praise the kid who actually posted the article in the first place because he showed how bad the idea of user generated news can be.

    Journalists get paid to report but now it seems they have an out so that they can publish what someone else has written and pass it off as their own news. That’s not journalism that’s plagiarism and last time I heard that’s fraud.

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