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February 13 2011

Bad Bad Media, Facebook, Blogs and Shitty Journalism

Written by / Posted in reputation management / 57 Comments

(First off, don’t worry, it is not contagious :))

Last week, I and some hundreds of other people went to DomainFest. First off the conference was first class, amazing food, amazing venues, and culminated with a fantastic party at the Playboy mansion. My favorite moment was taking Andreas on a lightening fast tour of the grounds after the official tours were over. We all had a great time.

The day after I got home, I got sick, really, really sick. In fact there was only one other time in my life that I ever remember even being close to that sick.

I was so sick in fact that I did not pick up my computer once the first two days, except to beg for help from my staff, and to cancel patients on Monday.

This was the fourth day in 20 years that I have taken off work due to something wrong with my body. As a busy chiropractor who does all the adjusting himself that is one hell of a run.

The fever came down, the coughing mostly stopped, so I strapped on a facemask to protect patients, let them know I had been sick, and let them decide whether to see me or not. Wednesday or so I was flipping around online looking for photos of the event, still not full strength, and still with a little gurgle in my lungs, and came across a blog about how a lot of people had gotten sick. It was full of jokes, about how all of these drunken fellows had stayed up too late and given each other the flu.

This being my first time at DomainFest, I found the whole thing a bit funny and endearing. I felt it bonded me a bit to this new group.

I found jokes being made on blogs about us catching it in the Grotto at the Playboy mansion, which of course I just laughed at as a good joke. It was obvious to me that we had all caught a virus of some sort, most likely the flu. In fact one of the big domain blogs even accused me of having brought the virus up to domain fest, which was of course a joke, and which I was quite proud of even being mentioned.

Then Thursday night someone had posted a blog about Legionaries disease. I remembered studying it in school, and something about people catching it through air conditioner systems, and lots of people dying. Now it was a little harder for me to laugh at.

So I spent a few hours online studying up on the subject, and got in touch with my doctor.

Initially I was reading about fatality rates of 5% to 20% which is not a promising number when you are talking about your own death. 🙂

It turned out that a few of the guys had doctors who had gone the whole nine yards, done the required tests and found them positive for having been exposed to Legionaries disease virus.

In this blogosphere it was funny to see where good info was coming from. I was sitting there the first night, thinking I had a 1 in 20 chance of dying of this thing. Odd thing to be thinking. 🙂 Wife was still asleep, hadn’t even heard about this yet. One guy who is real smart, and writes straight facts about domaining, unlike the wandering opinions here on Purpose Inc, wrote a really good write up on the whole story, and he has kept updating it.

There were even some light hearted stabs at one guy who had left the domain industry, who was jokingly being blamed for the whole thing, on one of the more spicey domain blogs.

What was funny about the whole thing was as follows.

1. We were talking about something that might be life and death for all of us.

2. The most accurate place for information was in the comment sections on the blogs.

Then something funny happened.

The comments on the blogs talked about the source data being on a thread on Nico Zeifang’s facebook wall.

So I found myself in the odd position of needing to get the most up to date information, literally about a possibly life or death situation, but being able to see it only on a facebook thread, on a wall, of someone I didn’t know.

This puts facebook profiles in a whole new league.

I looked at the photos of Nico, and I can’t remember actually meeting him. Luckily I am not shy, so freind requested with a message about being one of the fallen comrades.

Nico graciously friended me which allowed me access to this thread where all of the source info is being reported.

So in my studies it turns out that there are two types of sickness that come from Legionelles bacteria. One of them is Legionnaires disease, the shit kills 1 out of 20 people who get it, and it is no joke. The other version appears to be what we all have which is called Pontiac Fever which is like a bad flu, lasts a week, and then is gone with or without treatment. (See your doctor, don’t trust me on this.)

So why am I pissed off in all of this?

In all of this it will turn out there is one guy who didn’t do his job. Somewhere there is going to most likely pop up a mechanical device, such as an air conditioner duct, or place holding water vapor that was not kept clean. That is where this stuff comes from when you read the data on it. But this guy I am not pissed off at. Not cleaning the inside of an A/C duct or tank? I can understand that. I’m not pissed at that guy.

Here’s what I am pissed about.

The media grabbed onto the fact that it was at the Playboy mansion. Every man over the age of 40, and most who are younger, spent a good part of their youth drooling over these curvy girls who had been airbrushed, and later photoshopped into a level of perfection that can not be accomplished on earth by natural means. When my wife tells people she has been to the mansion, or writes about it on facebook, nothing ever gets so many responses. It basically gives us a collective uncomfortable tightness in our pants just thinking about the place. It is for us like the royal castle of America, and Hugh is our prince.

So anywhere that loved is an easy target for the media if there is even the slightest weakness around it.

As soon as the word was out that we had all gotten sick, it has started popping up faster than gophers on a spring hillside that we may have all gotten Legionnaires at the Playboy Mansion. The headlines though shoot first and ask questions later.

The New York Post has as their image leading to the story, “Outbreak at Playboy Mansion”. I know that Heffner and the Playboy organization can’t safely comment, but I can. Fuck You New York Post for putting something like that out there before the cause has been determined. I am sure if the cause is found to be at the mansion, they will take the appropriate actions, but to harm the reputation of an organization so many of us love, before you know, is slanderous and libelous. You know, you get SUED for it because it is against the law!

MSN does a little better. They don’t straight out make it up like The New York Post did, but it still is cheap crappy journalism. They state in their headline, “Playboy Mansion Visitors Come Down With Mystery Illness” Which is roughly the same as saying “Men From Every City In America Killed In War” which I am sure is true if you take into account every war since the civil war. Grammar is important, including verb tense and the choice of every word you use.

When I write, I know about 20,000 people will read it here. When they write, millions will read it. Your level of responsibility goes up with the number of readers. At least it should.

Tomorrow this Playboy story is supposed to be on Good Morning America. God only knows what the sound bites will say.

I have watched good people, good churches, and now one of my favorite American Institutions, Playboy, get slammed in the media before something was established as truth.

Be nice guys. Being mean and trying to sell a few bucks of cheap online advertising space aint worth harming others.

To the organizers of Domain fest, Aaron and the rest, you guys did a first class job, and thank you for having me.

To the hotel, I loved the place, the tree is amazing, food was good, and you guys did a great job.

Heff, thanks again for hosting me at your house. My third party there, and we had a blast. If you need someone to kick some ass online for you, please ask. I have been a fan since I was 5 years old and first found your fine periodical in my dads auto repair files in our garage.

And to whoever the engineer who was responsible for the maintenance of the device that got us all sick. Apologies accepted, please go restudy how to keep this stuff clean, and please have your establishments insurance agent get ahold of all of us to cover my medical bills and lost time. Fair? I think so, and that is what insurance is for. (Plus of course anyone else interested).

Media? STFU until you know absolute truth. And I don’t just mean on this story, I mean on all of them before you wreck the lives of innocent people and organizations.

So we end this off with a Huge thank you to Nico and his facebook profile, without which I would not have known what was going on and would not have gotten the right treatment.

DomainFest attendees. World class meeting all of you. I had a great time, and was honored by the warmth of the welcome I got into your fabulous group, and was blown away by the intelligence, and graciousness of the group.

  1. Olivia said on February 16th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Exactly where media is best at: SENSATIONALIZING things! Poor Heff. Though I am not a fan, I see where the great offense comes from. I would surely feel the same way. Media is just all about creating controversies these days. Whatever a famous person say or do will always end up being taken out of context.

    Glad you’ve recovered DK. And, well said on all points. Thumbs up for this article. 😀

    Reply
  2. mcleguip said on February 20th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    These are the reasons why people should be taught how to use informations properly. Social Networks are not used accordingly. They often use it to hurt and misjudge people.

    Thank you for sharing by the way.

    Warmly,

    Marriane

    Reply
  3. Haydee Corbilla said on February 21st, 2011 at 12:23 am

    There are some people who really won’t bother and just use these sites for their purpose. There should just be a better system that can monitor and prevent them from doing stupid stuff.

    Reply
  4. labelle said on February 24th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    this news hasnt hit the Philippine media, but i have read about it. hope every one is fine by now.

    Reply
  5. Ingrid M. Pena said on March 3rd, 2011 at 9:52 am

    journalism now has come to its lowest standard. reporters and writers would do anything to create a buzz for their paper or site. they would twist, distort and even exaggerate a story. I hope you are doing well DK.

    Reply
  6. karenC said on March 7th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    We cant control at all what will come out in the media, but we can at least screen what information to take seriously and in deep thought.

    Seriously, information is overflowing everywhere which means there is a lot to study and research about…. But the thing is, it is not impossible to have a reckless and truthful journalism ratio of 8:2 🙁 so sad!

    Reply
  7. ivy said on March 15th, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Technology…sometimes owns us an apology 🙂

    Reply
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