I am upset. No, rather–I’m ticked! Pretty much beyond words, but I’ll attempt to describe this continuing phenomenon anyway. Here’s the problem, in brief:
- Analyst (sometimes “reputable” and sometimes a nobody) or “random employee at company X” makes a statement about some product or service company X or Y offers.
- Somehow this statement ends up being on the record, or captured by someone (random person’s secretary?) who decides it belongs on the record.
- News pundits pick up on the statement, and write a “breaking” story on how The Company will succeed, fail, or otherwise be affected by product or service A, B, or C. In fact, sometimes these “reporters” seem to insinuate that the world economy will collapse in its entirety if The Company fails at releasing Product B by Date Z.
- In order to back up the “story,” the “reporter” throws in some statistics from here and there, plus some pseudo-facts from who knows where. You won’t be able to find the source, since news outlets just report so-called “facts” reported by other news outlets, who in turn get their facts from– yeah, you get it. It’s a vicious circle with no real beginning.
- Add out-of-context quotes from three other “analysts” and submit to the editor.
- Editor is busy playing Starcraft II and can’t be bothered. Clicks “Approve” on all stories in his queue.
- Article gets released. The world prepares to meet its bitter end on Date Z.
Yeah, big problem! So how do we fix it? Easy–try this simple three-step formula.
- Fire every “business analyst” on the planet. They’re useless.
- Require every reporter to back-up each fact in their article with hard evidence. Not “so-and-so said such-and-such,” but real, honest-to-goodness fact. (e.g. “It rained yesterday.”)
- Attach every editor’s job security to articles they approve. For every approved article that contains factual errors, their salary is cut by 5%.
I’m to the point where I’m just going to stop reading the news. Life’s better without it, anyway…