After the AP hacking, a guide to sorting fact from fiction

This has not been the best week for breaking news. First, CNN unveiled a rambling shambles of exclusives on the Boston bombers. Now AP’s Twitter has been hacked, complete with a tweet of shocking news of an explosion at the White House. The fake tweet, in turn, caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to leap off a cliff in great alarm, only to bounce back a few minutes later.

Serves AP right for using “password” as its password all these years.

It seems then that breaking news, more than ever, is broken. Believe only half of what you hear, and even less of what you retweet. If Orson Welles were around today, he’d definitely be live-tweeting the War of the Worlds — and probably cause just as much panic as before.

Here, for further reference, is a guide to truth in news.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.
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Alexandra Petri | April 23, 2013