Is the New York Post‘s column about Governor David Paterson maybe, possibly having an affair becoming more believable the more it gets passed around? That would be the thesis of yesterday’s New York Observer column by John Koblin, who argues that the “fake news cycle” – that can only exist thanks to the wonders of the Internet and story forwarding – has allowed media to “enter a moment where even the process of journalismâ€”getting a storyâ€”is news in and of itself.” This is based on the fact that Paterson actually had to address the issues of his affair, and a timeline of all the blogs and news media that reported the news (Koblin first broke the rumor of the NYT story on Twitter).
But the truth is, politicians’ sexual scandals have always been ripe fodder for both tabloids and legitimate journalism outlets, and it’s not like Page Six suddenly started existing when Web 2.0 developed. It is not a new development that reporting on a story suddenly makes it true to a vast majority of readers, only that the Internet provides outlets allowing anyone to discuss and debate these salacious items, creating more “hype” for what may turn out to be a total non-story.
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