In grown-up journalism, when you make a mistake, you issue a correction. Same when you're nicked by a hoax: Take your lumps, share a laugh with the peanut gallery and move on.
But over at Deadline, where infallibility and omniscience are written into the job descriptions, admitting that you're wrong -- or have been had -- doesn't fit the narrative. The Emperor wears clothes, period. TOLDJA he did! Etc.
The latest example, wherein Mike Fleming was clealry conned into posting an April Fool's prank about James Cameron's supposed interest in directing a PROMETHEUS sequel, was well-chronicled earlier today by Fishbowl. Click over for details, or have a read of the post (screenshot below).
The best part is the huffy "Insiders tell me" update, as if Cameron, Ridley Scott and Tom Rothman hastily organized a conference call to clear things up. And no update to mention that The Guardian -- the source of this post -- admitted it was April Fooled?
What Fishbowl missed was this unintentionally hilarious follow-up post from Deadline interntational editor Nancy Tartaglione, which -- a mere 24 hours later -- calls out the unwashed blogosphere for biting on the weekend's other April Fool's prank, a fake list of Cannes entries. (Underlining for emphasis ours):
We especially love how Tartaglione calls her debunking -- which every single media outlet that covers Cannes did independently -- a Deadline EXCLUSIVE. (Dear Nancy: Next time you debunk something totally whack, it's much easier to just tweet it, or not write about it at all. That's what we all did! Love, The Rest of Journalism).
Of course, there's a rich history of backtracking, hypocrisy and utterly preposterous claims of exclusivity at the most powerful woman in Hollywood's blog, these recent examples notwithstanding. Why, just yesterday Deadline threw up a post at 11:03 p.m. Pacific time (screenshot below) claiming EXCLUSIVE, despite that it read very closely to the Oscilloscope Laboratories press release that shipped several minutes earlier at 10:56 a.m.:
Again, our favorite part is the fake-in-the-know construction "I'm told it will I (sic) be released ...," as if to suggest that Oscilloscope founder and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch himself bolted out of Fleming's guest room, ran down to his basement office and whispered this important detail in his ear. It was clearly stated in that press release, of course. All part of the illusion of omniscience, folks.
Indulge us this last example, easily the richest of the past few weeks: On March 21, Variety first reported that David O. Russell was in talks to direct AMERICAN BULLSHIT (irony alert; wait for it). Fleming, who apparently wants us all to know he was tracking this development, couldn't help but send up a barb when Russell's publicist denied that it was true:
Wait -- it gets better. A quick update of the post (below) not only inserts the word "yesterday" (to make sure you know, gentle reader, that Fleming inquired before he was scooped), but acknowledges "trade reports" (plural) standing firm against his debunking:
But he wasn't done. One more update (again, below; skip down to the very last line).