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Bad Bloggers: Dale Hunter WAS NOT Fired
Shortly after Dale Hunter announced his decision not to return as head coach of the Washington Capitals, Yahoo’s Trending Now box showed one of its ten topics as “Dale Hunter fired.” I’m not entirely sure how that box is filled out. Is it what people are searching for, word-for-word? Is an editor filling it out based on analysis of searches? It doesn’t matter. Folks who saw it may have wrongly believed that Dale Hunter was fired.
Certainly, a bit of research would have yielded the correct result, but who has time to look up more information when a headline says it all?
On his blog, team owner Ted Leonsis has been vocal about misleading information being published on the web, because it then becomes ingrained in search engines and may fool people. To put it in perspective how serious Mr. Leonsis is about this, he criticized an April Fools joke about the Wizards, and last summer he criticized an article about the pros and cons of the Capitals pursuing Jaromir Jagr (though the article at no point said that the Caps were interested in Jagr).
But there is more to this ‘Dale Hunter Fired’ nonsense, and that is the actual search results of those words. I found a couple of sites, one with the title, “Dale Hunter: Fired, Or Resigned From Washington Capitals? Rumors circulate around the web about the hockey coach.”
The article not only wrongly says that George McPhee is the owner of the Capitals, but uses Twitter to show the “rumors” about Hunter being fired. Twitter. We’ve all seen that anyone can write anything on Twitter, no matter how incorrect it may be, so there’s absolutely no credibility in using random Tweeters to show that “rumors” are circulating around the web. These people more likely misunderstood what happened with Hunter or foolishly read Yahoo’s Trending Now box. This is the same software that gave people a platform to talk about the death of singer Lil’ Kim when it was actually North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il.
Here’s another: Dale Hunter Fired? Washington Capitals’ Head Coach Steps Down After Playoff Exit. But this one doesn’t even offer foolish Tweets as proof, and instead says, “While some fans questioned if Hunter, 51, was fired from the team…” Which fans questioned whether he was fired?
And lastly, from a site called Today News Gazette (News, Information, Insight): Dale Hunter Fired: Capitals Coach. Not only is the headline inaccurate, it doesn’t even make sense! Peerless weighed in:
@CapsOutsider I think there was missing copy; should have said, “Dale Hunter fired up to return to London (looks forward to seeing Big Ben)
— ThePeerless (@ThePeerless) May 15, 2012
Later on Monday, Yahoo’s Trending Now box changed to “Dale Hunter quits.” Thanks for clearing that up, Yahoo.
The Internet is a big place, easy to update and un-policed, so this sort of thing is bound to happen. While smart people know better than to trust certain sources, or know to do further research, wrong information and baseless claims will only continue to create confusion in this information-consuming society.