Sensationalism is hardly anything new in the news biz. Death, destruction and scandal have always been good draws.
But there’s a big difference between reporting about sensational things and misrepresenting facts for the purpose of sensationalizing.
At the very least, you’d think that when it comes to business news, a major news organization would go out of its way to be objective. Yet CNN seems unable to resist jumping on the “Apple is doomed” bandwagon.
Recently, it featured a poorly-written Apple-bashing Mashable article on its front page along with the real news.
Last week it descended even further.
Just one day before Apple’s quarterly earnings report, CNN readers saw a front-page story entitled “Apple to report dismal results.” Those were the exact words — presented as fact, not speculation.
Once you clicked, the story’s headline was “This is what a bad quarter for Apple looks like.” Again, it was presented as fact — along with a main visual (above) that seemingly captured Apple’s ominous descent.
Only when the reader got to the meat of the story (or followed the asterisks in the graph) would he discover that this was all based on “analysts projections.”
Of course, we all know that the analysts have a fairly laughable record when it comes to forecasting Apple’s performance. We also know that in context the graph is totally misleading. The two quarters following the holidays always show softer sales at Apple — as they do for every consumer electronics company.
So what happened the next day?
“Apple’s results top estimates as iPhone sales hit record for quarter,” said the LA Times. Similar stories ran on every news site, including CNN — which ultimately had to report the real news.
Quite the opposite of CNN’s expected “dismal results,” Apple’s record-setting iPhone sales lifted the stock about 20 bucks the next day.
Strangely, CNN’s article actually did note (near the end) that Verizon had just reported a surprising increase in iPhone sales. Rather than take this verified fact as a clue, the article instead threw its weight behind the rumors and speculation.
Good work, CNN.
But next time, if you feel compelled to turn opinion into news, try publishing your article a few weeks before the real numbers are announced. That way, you might not look so silly just 24 hours later.
Tags: CNN apple