The Internets Win This Round

While local TV news reports hoax email as fact

Remember that “leaked” list of seventy-five suspected Major League Baseball juicers that came out on Thursday afternoon, a couple hours before the Mitchell Report on steroid use in the big leagues was officially released? And remember after it had been emailed to you and you emailed it to your friends, it turned out that almost every player on it was wrong? Well, via FishbowlNY, we learn that local New York NBC affiliate WNBC ran the unsourced email list as gospel truth Thursday afternoon.


Deadspin, a sports blog that also ran the list Thursday morning, is apparently a little sharper than WNBC when it comes to knowing how the Internets—and chain emails purporting to be “true”—work, and was astute enough to throw some water of the emailed list, saying that “It could very likely be one of those Web urban legends that somehow got around, like when everyone thought Scott Baio was dead. It probably is, actually.” WNBC, sadly, didn’t have the foresight to run any such Baio-related disclaimer.

Score one for the Internet, zero for local TV news.

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Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.