UGM — These three letters have pretty much meant the end of the world as we know it, to quote a notable lyric. Only this time, it was literal.
What does it mean? User-Generated Media. Have smartphone, will report. This means all that journalism studying done by serious reporters doesn’t amount to a thing if some schlep with a Samsung Note can tweet a shaky video to national news.
TMZ uses it. Discredited blogs use it. And even the biggies use it, most commonly CNN and its fabled “iReport.” Cute name. Terrible news. Like everyone dying by asteroid on March 35, 2041. Yes, March 3-5. That is not a typo, just really sloppy reporting.
The great Romensko reported over the weekend (because that man never closes or dozes) a lovely CNN iReport that took place notifying the world that we were all going to die. The headline read: Giant asteroid possibly on collision course with Earth.
Only, NASA called CNN directly to report that statement was so very false (and probably laughed quite a bit too). To wit, CNN yanked the report offline, but not before America could make fun of its editors.
Why? The story seemed a bit familiar — a 10-mile-wide asteroid hurling toward Earth. One that was roughly the size of Manhattan or even Texas, depending on how geographically challenged you are. The rock was 51 million miles from Earth and looming closer every day.
Yeah, that was also the plot for the movie “Armageddon” starring Bruce Willis and
I wish he wasn’t Batman Ben Affleck. After CNN was caught with its pants down, it posted:
And that wasn’t all because there should have been one really big red flag, even if a CNN editor hadn’t seen a certain Michael Bay film. That would be this:
The original report, which went viral with more than 200,000 views, stated that “the asteroid is calculated to have a potentially lethal encounter with the Earth on March 35, 2041.”
You stay classy, CNN. It’s like PR professionals and the rest of America forgot you were a real news station.