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This hits the nail on the head in calling out news reporting sites who don't fact check or truthfully report a topic. Its incredible how far from the actually story the Apple recycled gold headline deviates and really makes you wonder if citing so called reputable sources is even valid in some cases.



That's the problem with 24/7 news and the Internet.

1: Someone breaks a story 2: People get interested and share it with their friends 3: Other sources want a piece of that action so they bandwagon and cite the original piece for their own version.

I am often struck at how our modern communications framework, going all the way back to the telegraph, has allowed so much misinformation to be spread.


Some of those reporters are contracted to write five or even 10 posts per day. It's not like a NYT or WSJ reporter spending three weeks or three months on one story.

Also, because Google promotes blogspam without any regard for content quality (see the "freshness algorithm"), you lose money by spending longer on a post.

It's the exception rather than the rule that somebody will come along several days later and hit it out of the park, but well done Jason Koebler.


I'm a journalist; lots of my colleagues were floored watching the doc about the NYT, "Page One," when David Carr tells his editor, "I'm doing two more weeks of reporting on this, then it might take a week to write it and show it to you."


> Some of those reporters are contracted to write five or even 10 posts per day. It's not like a NYT or WSJ reporter spending three weeks or three months on one story.

Vice doesn't necessarily fall out of that category either. Smack dab in the middle is the statement:

"I still had outstanding questions, which I asked Apple ... The company has not yet responded."

The number of times I've read a developing story that has had that or similar in it is countless. Apple isn't known to have an army of PR representatives waiting for the next question to come down the pipeline, but it begs the question of how long they waited before publishing the story and just hoping they can update the story later while it's still getting pageviews.


I wrote this article, I gave Apple 18 hours to respond. The article has now been out for four hours or so, and it's been close to 24 hours since I originally asked them.

Apple RARELY responds to press inquiries and the only time it has reliably spoken to the press was during the recent encryption battle and that's because it desperately needed the public to understand its argument.

I understand what you're getting at, but Apple loses nothing by having the original story misreported—it ends up looking really good. Apple just straight up ignores reporters, all the time.


When I worked at Apple I was shocked, truly shocked, to find that their PR/Advertising was mostly handled by a company in LA and not done entirely in-house.

On one hand I get how secrecy works well for Apple, but on the other it gives them less control over Crystallizing Public Opinion and occasionally results in some pretty weak ads for uninspired product(s/ updates), like the 5s parts all coming together: beautiful but meaningless.


Thanks for replying with clarifications for this article. I tried to imply that while I know Apple rarely responds to public or press inquiries, the question still remained on how long has elapsed before the author (you) moves forward with publication, but as a general sense applying whenever the author includes that language, here and on hundreds of other sites and applying not only to Apple, but to any company they are trying to get information and clarification from.

24 hours isn't terribly long, though knowing how fast Apple responds, if you don't get one in 12, then you probably won't get one in 72 either. For other companies though, what is a general grace period before moving forward with publication?


That really doesn't seem like a lot of time for them to respond. Especially given that for 10 or so of those hours, people are probably at home, asleep, or with their families.


I see what you're saying—but companies regularly respond to things like this very quickly. At least to say "we're looking into it" or "can you give us some time to respond." Apple and every other major company has people on call for things like this 24 hours a day, they have email on their phone ... the company saw my questions and chose not to respond. They still haven't responded or acknowledged it.


Apple's approach is to pick favorites, like Walt Mossberg, and then to play its handful of favorites off against one another. (Time gives you a bad review, Newsweek gets the next exclusive interview; or it's NYT vs WSJ.)

The rest of us are generally ignored, so we have to pick up scraps from the chosen few.

Obviously the big titles get more attention than small ones -- nobody has an infinite supply of time -- but companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel cope with dozens if not hundreds of journalists worldwide. They even deal with journalists that they think view them unfavorably.


I wonder if there's a publicity effect here.

Much in the same way that police abuse has been going on forever but didn't get attention until everyone got a camera in their phone, I think bullshit "news" stories have always been with us. The net makes it much easier to debunk these, and for the news of the debunking to spread in the same way the original story did.

That's not to say the insatiable, screwed up incentives to publish on the net before fact checking aren't problematic. I just question whether shoddy/misleading/outright false "news" has actually gotten worse, or whether we just notice it more because corrections and factchecks in some cases become news in their own right (like here).


Relevant xkcd: https://xkcd.com/978/


I mean packet loss and mutation is inherent to communication though. Just consider the game of telephone or how rumors spread; the technology doesn't matter, it's our own memories and interpretations that are at fault. In this case people are too trustworthy of information from others and don't scrutinize it.


It's a fundamental constant of the universe. Comforting lies spread faster than inconvenient truths.


This is ironic considering Vice routinely bends the truth in favor of outrage porn themselves. In this case, the author doesn't appear to know exactly how much of the waste in the 90 million pounds figure was actually Apple products, though based on the rough calculation that CRT monitors make up the vast majority of e-waste weight he estimates that it is very little. That appears to be the meat of the controversy here. It's not that no e-waste recycling occurred, it's that the $40 million in gold figure is dubious-at-best. Apple paid the companies to perform electronics recycling, which the article itself says is a non-lucrative business and in large part exists solely because manufacturers pay for these recycling programs. I'm not sure if there's a real issue here(other than perhaps the media taking something and running with it for clicks).


I'm not sure if there's any 'controversy', the OP article doesn't seem to neccesarily think there is one, or that Apple has done anything wrong.

The OP article just says that the thing everyone's saying about 'Apple harvests gold from iPhones and makes $40 million" just isn't true.

It's not a question of 'controversy', it's a question of understanding what's actually going on in the world regarding our resource consumption and waste generation and where the costs of such are borne -- something we probably need to be more familiar with if we want to keep living on this planet.


Somewhat before (but not completely before) the crazy 24/7 internet-news-cycle started, I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal about an activity I participated in.

For about two days after it was published, I got calls from various lesser-known news outlets, and in the end, I did two more interviews, one with a local television station, and one with a very small radio talk show.

I didn't feel that any of the three organizations got the nuances and details right in their final stories. The WSJ got the big picture mostly right, but made it look like I took a different angle than I did; the local news station intentionally omitted important facts to drive some humor. The radio program was a live interview, but moved on to the next question so quickly that I didn't have a chance to give much detail.

I don't think any of this was avoiding fact-checking, or misrepresenting the truth of my story. But accurate reporting is very hard, and no news outlet gets it right.

Ever since then, I take every story I see with a grain of salt. The main point might be what the subject thinks, but at the very least it is missing details and nuance.

This leads me to treat the subject of any news story with a lot more compassion than it may seem like they deserve on the surface.


Often they dumb down a story for their audience. While you might think it is important to talk about the issue of merging 2 branches, they may rephrase that bit.


While this article is a good exception... In writing a book on Vice media I had the idea to see which american media outlets issue more corrections and updates. Vice scored the absolute worst. Much worse than Time, Gawker and Fox News. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1MQ6IiQcorsN_pnY6oX1h...

Motherboard scored the best among the Vice verticals but not well in the grand scheme of things.




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