[FoRK] Six-year old news story leads to stock price plummet.

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Sep 9 13:51:19 PDT 2008


It was a Sun-Sentinel error not to include a date with the article.
It was a Google error not to distinguish between "retrieved on" vs. 
"evidence that it pertains to".
It was the Income Securities Advisors reporter's error to confuse search 
results for "bankruptcy 2008" with dates of articles in the retrieved 
set.  Clearly the dates on the search screen are not authoritative.  He 
should have looked at the article and, not finding a date, been suspicious.

The reporter's error was the most egregious while the Sun-Sentinel must 
share in the blame for any confusion they cause for being a stupid, 
incompetent publisher.

sdw

Lawnun wrote:
> Well, both technically.  I specifically cited Google in this instance
> because...
>
> "The bizarre chain of events began yesterday, when a reporter at Income
> Securities Advisors -- a Miami area investment service that disseminates
> news about distressed companies -- typed in a
> Google<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Google+Inc.?tid=informline>search:
> "bankruptcy 2008."
>
> Up popped the six-year-old article from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel,
> which originally appeared in the Chicago
> Tribune<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Tribune+Company?tid=informline>on
> Dec. 10, 2002, the day after United declared bankruptcy. Tribune
> Co.<http://financial.washingtonpost.com/custom/wpost/html-qcn.asp?dispnav=business&mwpage=qcn&symb=TRB&nav=el>owns
> the Tribune and the Sun-Sentinel.
>
> Why did Google find a six-year-old article?
>
> Largely because it was undated in the Sun-Sentinel Web archive. *The Google
> Web crawler assigned the article the date it was found* -- Sept. 6, 2008.
> The reporter from Income Securities Advisors saw the Saturday date and
> assumed it was a new article."
>
> Obviously posting the old article in a new Bloomberg issue led to the dip,
> but the poster's assumption that it was correct I'd argue, stems from a
> combination of laziness + Google's authority.
>
> To me, this all ties back in with the idea that as we're hitting information
> overload, everyone -- from the professional press, to PR flunkies, to
> bloggiers -- are falling back unconsciously into laziness.
>
> C
> On Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 3:36 PM, Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> wrote:
>
>   
>> On Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 3:29 PM, Lawnun <lawnun at gmail.com> wrote:
>>     
>>> Whoops... Yet another example of the all-encompassing power of teh Google
>>>       
>> to
>>     
>>> control and affect our lives.
>>>       
>> ? You mean, teh Bloomberg?
>>
>> Luis
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