You know those science fiction movies where a scientist can’t get anyone to listen to him about the threat of a man-made virus getting out of control and destroying the world decides to prove his point by creating a virus that then gets out of control and destroys the world? Or the ones about the government computer geek who drives people crazy complaining that the nation’s systems are vulnerable to cyber-attack, so he creates a bug to prove his point and it sends the country back to the stone age?
Ryan Holiday is like those guys. Fortunately, he isn’t a scientist or tech whiz, just an unscrupulous writer and a liar, so his unconscionable stunts to “prove a point” don’t risk ending civilization. Ethically, however, he is no better than those fictional characters, and arguably he is worse. At least those brilliant boobs were trying to prevent a catastrophe. Holiday is just trying to sell his book.
The book is about the news media’s vulnerability to bad information, so Holiday, a 25-year-old marketing director for American Apparel, decided to prove his thesis with an “experiment.” He got himself listed as an “expert” on an online resource for reporters, and when they contacted him, he lied to them. One of the media sources that fell for his deception was the New York Times, which subsequently published this after a story using Holiday’s lies made it into the News That’s Fit to Print, when it wasn’t:
“An earlier version of this article included quotations from Ryan Holiday of New Orleans discussing why he preferred vinyl records. The reporter reached Mr. Holiday through a Web site that connects reporters to sources on various topics. Mr. Holiday, who has written a book about media manipulation, subsequently acknowledged that he lied to the Times reporter and to other journalists on a variety of subjects, fabricating responses to their online queries. (He says he does not own a turntable.)”
ABC, NBC, CBS, and Reuters were also among the news outlets that got stung by Holiday through the site. Predictably, Holiday feels no remorse: it’s all those news media sources and blogs that don’t check their sources that are at fault. And they are at fault, but that does not entitle him to 1) deceive their readers, who are not at fault and 2) harm the reputation of the online resource for reporters, which now will not be trusted, thanks to him.
We know the news media is sloppy, unethical and unprofessional. We don’t need smug liars like Holiday to “prove” it further, and to put even more bad information into the news so he can sell more books. Forbes, used him as a contributor, has reportedly cut ties with him, and anyone who buys Holiday’s book, which is approximately as trustworthy as a genetically spliced monster made up of equal parts of Al Sharpton, Newt Gingrich and Elizabeth Warren, deserves to be lied to.
Source, Graphic: Yahoo!
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