Phone's Ringing, Dude. E-mail
Written by Tim Lofton   
Sunday, 25 April 2010 17:35

Hey everybody! My name's Timmy, and I'm a fellow longtime listener of the Podcast. I've had the opportunity to contribute here and there, and now Chalupa's giving me my own column here on the blog. I'll be posting once a week, with looks at movies, stories, and what have you. It's called Over the Line, and many weeks I'll be looking at someone who took things just a little too far. This is one of them.

I will totally sell you this phone for a G1 Wheeljack Transformer.
Nobody's buying my phone for insider scoops.

This past week, a good chunk of you probably heard the story about the "Lost iPhone" that ended up getting sold to tech site Gizmodo. If you haven't heard the tale, here it is in a nutshell: A twenty-something Apple engineer goes out for his birthday with a few pals, has some drinks, and leaves the bar. Unbeknown to him, his phone has fallen out of his pocket, and is left behind.

But this ain't just any phone.

No, this is the ultra-secret, test-stage iPhone 4, which was camo'd up to look like your run-of-the-mill iPhone. The guy had been field testing it, and since Apple is notoriously secret about its upcoming products, this was a huge find. To make a long story short, a chap at the bar tried to call Apple about it, and ended up selling the lost phone to Gizmodo for around $5,000 in cash. Pretty good payday for a finding something. You can read more about the long tale of the iPhone in this thread, but needless to say, the walls of propriety are questionably breached, here.

There are a lot of amazing journalists out there who take risks every day to get scoops on upcoming stories. As a matter of fact, journalists have even been attacked trying to get info on labor conditions in Apple's manufacturing plants. Oftentimes, some of these Brother Seamuses get insider info from individuals who are risking their careers and violating company policy by sharing with them. Now, those folks are possibly being troublesome by doing so, but they're doing so willingly, sometimes because of serious moral conviction. This isn't one of those cases. This was somebody going Larry Sellers on a phone, then selling the phone off. Kinda like Larry moving the briefcase with, uh, business papers. And then, on top of it all, Gizmodo sells out the poor guy who lost the phone, listing his name and Facebook page. Not hard-hitting journalism here, dude. Just a bunch of nihilists.

Our media is the Fourth Estate, which helps keep our society in check and teaches us about unchecked aggression. We need it to be intrusive in order to be legitimate. However, there's a fine line between being intrusive and being a part of the story. In this cat's opinion, when you pay for info, that's often what's going to happen. Will Carroll, a sportswriter who specializes in injury analysis tweeted this on Thursday, and I think it sums things up. Get the scoop, but don't compromise integrity.

Of course, Gizmodo wouldn't know about integrity, dude. They're in publishing.

 

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