... when you're online no one knows if you're an outlaw.

I'm pretty amazed that in the hoohah about Michelle Delio, the latest reporter whose sources couldn't be stood up, nobody seems to have picked up on the above quote, which I found in her Wired biog.1 Presumably she wrote that herself; most mags I know require one to do that oneself. So is it a clue?

I doubt it. But the truth of the matter is that it is the very fact of being online that enables one to be fingered as an outlaw. Just one example, from the report by Adam L. Penenberg for Wired:

She also quoted Marilyn Jackson, an "unemployed Chicago-based graphic designer," but after calling every Marilyn Jackson listed in the Chicago area and performing multiple internet and database searches, we could not find her.

In the bad old days, before reporters made up sources (i.e. before movable type) and before the internet enabled any Tom, Dick and Harriet to "fact check your ass" (or arse, as we say over here), would anyone have bothered to call every Marilyn Jackson listed anywhere?


  1. Thank you again, Wayback Machine. All links had to be updated. 

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