After reading the above comments I ran across this from Forbes:
A couple of hours ago, Gawker posted a hilariously lurid and Pulp Fiction-esque story about a robber who broke into a hair salon in a small town in Russia, where he was knocked out by the blonde, 28-year-old female salon owner—who happened to be a black belt—tied to a radiator with a cord from a dryer (it was a hair salon!), stuffed full of Viagra, and forced to have sex with her for three days—all presumably against his will.
The post allows Gawker to get off a bunch of one-liners—the writer, Brian Moylan, cracks that this is a “quirky romantic comedy,” and begs that Katherine Heigl or Kate Hudson not be allowed to play the hair salon owner/rapist/karate champ in the movie version. At last check, the post had already received over 16,000 views and is rapidly climbing.
The problem? The entire wacky incident happened over two years ago, in April of 2009. Here is the Moscow Times story on it. The story wasn’t exactly underreported, either. Google “sex slave Moscow hair salon” and over 200,000 results come up, all of them dated April 2009. Well, except for Gawker’s item and one other media outlet’s—the Daily Mail in the UK, which the Gawker item links to.
The Daily Mail also acts like the Russian sex slave incident just happened today. Was there some new news here that would entail these two outlets republishing this two-year-old story? Maybe a trial or sentencing or something? Not from what I can see in either the Gawker or Daily Mail pieces. It’s the same old story—though granted, it’s a good one!
So good that The Moscow Times even questions whether the outlet that originally posted the story, Life.ru, wasn’t making it up. (The Moscow Times piece links to the Life.ru story, but that link is now dead. In fact, I couldn’t find anything called Life.ru, just Lifenews.ru.)
Oddly, Gawker yesterday published a critical blog about the Huffington Post, which fired a young writer for “over-aggragating” an AdAge column. Gawker takes the side of the writer, who apparently over-summarized and under-linked to the original content. The writer of the Gawker story, Ryan Tate, argues that the HuffPo lines on over-summarization need to be better drawn. He says there should be a “clear and consistent institutional policy” on aggragating the work of other writers.
I agree with him there. But I am wondering about the Gawker (and Daily Mail!) policy on re-posting ancient but titillating items for new traffic. Update: Within moments of my publishing this, Gawker got back to me. They have since updated their item to reflect the fact that is this all the Daily Mail’s fault. They do it in typical Gawker fashion:
Update: Apparently this story is two years old. Damn you, Daily Mail for publishing it today as if it were new! We’re going to punch you in the face and tie you up for a few days as punishment.
This didn’t convince Gawker to take the item down though. Old (possibly made up) stories are still new traffic, after all.
Getting hard to trust any news source anymore.....my apologies to futures.io (formerly BMT)