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Bill Gates Dead?

Posted April. 04, 2003 22:22,   


Due to the misreporting of broadcasting companies such as MBC and SBS as well as Internet mediums on the morning of April 4 regarding the rumor about the murder of President Bill Gates of Microsoft without confirmation, there was ‘chaos’ across the nation for about 15 minutes including instability in stock markets.

The origin of the disorder is MBC. This morning at around 9:38, there was a caption displaying ‘President Bill Gates of Microsoft murdered’ during the MBC News and after two minutes, the announcer Shin Dong-jin verbally reported that, “CNN reported that Bill Gates has been murdered”.

YTN reported the same news around 9:45 and SBS around 9:47 and the allied news brought out an article entitled ‘Bill Gates Murdered’ with a picture of Gates around 9:41 in the morning. As Internet mediums such as Oh My News, Internet Hangyerae, Donga.com, Digital Chosun, Yahoo, and Daum quoted the report, there was a big stir caused on the Internet.

About fifteen minutes later, this report was discovered to be a lie from a falsehood site disguised as the CNN News Site (http://cgrom.com/news/law/gatesmurder/index.shtml) thus, broadcasting companies and Internet mediums presented corrections as well as an apology following the discovery.

“The source of the reporting, which came in through facsimile, was very much like CNN.com. We couldn`t find any related reports from a search on CNN.com but since there are times when articles disappear during the process of updates, we broadcasted the content of the facsimile,” stated Director Gyeong Min Shin of the International Department at MBC.

However, the incorrect reporting chaos about the rumor of the murder of Bill Gates already has been reported as an article under the navel of the ‘seriousness of the harm of April Fool’s Day’ on the Internet Edition of Maeil Economy dated March 31. MBC and KBS had another misreporting fiasco back in April 1999 when they broadcasted the April Fool`s Day`s article of the Asahi Newspaper. As the news about the murder of President Bill Gates spread rapidly through various mediums of headline news around 9:40 in the morning, the general stock market index dropped to 536.

As it was clarified as just a ‘parody’, it went back up to 540. “The BBC has a standard known as the ‘Two Source Rule’, which is confirming the truth with two sources, but our national broadcasting stations don`t have any standard for news confirmation. The competitiveness on quick announcements is the fate of the press but if they just focus on this, the general populous will eventually lose faith in journalism through the increase in misreports,” emphasized Professor Kim Chang-ryong of Press and Politics Department at Inje University.

Seung-Hoon Cheon raphy@donga.com