Audit Notes: WSJ’s Facebook Non-News, Bogus Bloomberg, Tabloid Id

Fortune’s Dan Primack calls out The Wall Street Journal for hyping non-news on page one that Facebook is going to launch an IPO in the spring for somewhere near $100 billion.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal got a huge amount of attention for reporting that Facebook is preparing to go public next year in an IPO that could value the company in excess of $100 billion. It became the top story on HuffingtonPost, and got prominent links/rewrites everywhere from Reuters to Drudge.

Huh? I’ve read the WSJ story several times, and can’t find any information that hasn’t been previously reported. The only exception would be that Facebook may raise $10 billion via the offering, but that’s a working figure that Biz Insider’s Nicholas Carson suggested back in May. In fact, much of the existing info comes from earlier articles in the… wait for it… Wall Street Journal!

— Sometimes you can tell a story is going to be bogus from the headline.

Here’s one example from Bloomberg News:

IPad-Crazed Toddlers Spur Holiday Sales

I seriously doubt, and there’s no evidence presented here beyond a single anecdote, that hordes of parents are going to be buying $500-plus iPads for their two year olds.

— Former News of the World deputy features editor Paul McMullan testified to the Levison inquiry today. Boy, did he testify.

The Guardian reports that he called Rebekah Brooks “the arch-criminal,” said “privacy is for paedos,” claimed that journalists were right to hack 13-year-old murder victim Milly Dowler’s phone, and talked about the good old days of chasing celebs at high speeds:

I absolutely loved giving chase to celebrities. Before Diana died it was such good fun.

And then there’s this, which might as well be the News Corporation motto:

Circulation defines the public interest.

McMullan comes off as something like the id of the UK tabloid newspaper reporter—a perfect Murdoch employee.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,