Recently the infamous gossip website Thirty Mile Zone reported that NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens was close to signing with the Cincinnati Bengals. TMZ, while a gossip website, is notorious for having scoops which pan out to be legitimate.
Immediately upon posting this story on their website, a number of beat reporters and other such media that cover the Bengals denied that the Bengals and Owens were in negotiations. Ken Broo talked about it on 700 WLW, and Joe Reedy posted about it on Cincinnati.com and his Twitter. In essence, the people denying the story said that it made no sense for the Bengals to do it as they passed on signing Owens back in the spring and opted to sign Antonio Bryant, and then drafted Jordan Shipley in the third round of the NFL Draft.
However, today at the annual lunch press conference before training camp begins, Bengals owner Mike Brown stated that Owens had indeed been offered a contract.
So, where are the retractions at?
In the blogosphere, there is a fine line between opinion, and reporting facts. This is a great example of how TMZ reported something, and others repeated the story in a manner in which their opinion was intertwined with fact.
TMZ was right.
Others responded to their report with skepticism based on their analysis of the situation, but without any sources or facts to back up their statements. They were wrong.
So, where are the retractions? Where are the broadcasts, columns, and tweets where the people who denied a story say "I was wrong, I had no sources based in fact to back up my statements"?
This is why it is ridiculous to get your information from only one source. Remember, even the National Enquirer wins Pulitzers.