Baiters gotta bait: Headline exaggeration causes fracas


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Turns out this mythical beast isn’t the only one frustrated with Business Insider‘s writing. The people they quote are pretty frustrated with it, too.

“The Apple Watch Is Going To Be A Flop, Says Top Startup Investor” (indirect link and a tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIve)

Really. Is that what he said?

Actually (are you sitting down?), no! Here’s what Wilson said:

Another market where the reality will not live up to the hype is wearables. The Apple Watch will not be the home-run product that iPod, iPhone, and iPad have been.

Now, the Macalope certainly doesn’t agree with everything that comes out of Fred Wilson’s mouth, but this is perfectly reasonable. In fact, as it’s currently designed, there’s basically no way the Apple Watch could be as successful as the iPhone because you need an iPhone to even use it. Unless you think iPhone users are going to buy one for each wrist, in which case seek counseling.

Wilson has rightly flipped some tables on Twitter about Business Insider‘s choice of words to jam into his mouth:

why do you guys feel the need to put words in my mouth?????? i never said “flop” it so [expletive deleted] annoying

That may seem like a lot of question marks but there is only one for each circle of Hell reserved for Business Insider‘s headline writers. They have since changed the title to read “...(Relative) Flop...” because integrity in tech reporting or something. Of course, anything short of a “home-run” must be a relative “flop,” right? Pff. A triple. What good is a triple? Base-clearing doubles are for suckers, of course, and don’t even get the Macalope started on sac flies. All are relative “flops” compared to a home-run.

Of course, the other way to look at the Apple Watch is how T-Mobile’s John Legere does:

“[The wearables category is] going to go from $1 to $20 billion in the next few years. And though we won’t see its full impact in 2015, I believe that the Apple Watch will mark the tipping point when wearables go from niche to mainstream.”

Maybe it won’t have the bottom-line impact that the iPhone has had (what could?) but it could legitimize wearables. But to Business Insider it’s a “flop” because if it’s an Apple headline, it has to have a negative word in it. That’s the first sentence in the Business Insider style guide.

So, we begin 2015 just as we ended 2014: With Business Insider‘s farcical views on responsible tech coverage. Of the four pieces from the waning days of 2014 that the Macalope linked to on Thursday, only Engadget‘s Devindra Hardawar and Hot Hardware‘s Paul Lilly have issued corrections. Good for the two of them. Shame on Business Insider‘s Julie Bort and Boy Genius Report‘s Zach Epstein.

We all make mistakes. The Macalope has made some doozies. That one with the noodles and the cat and the melon? Whew. Not gonna try that again. The Macalope’s not even allowed back into that Olive Garden. The point is, people with integrity correct the mistake and try to learn from it. People without it reap the link bait and keep making the same “mistake” over and over again.

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