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1/20/2009
07:50 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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Wikileaks Owes Steve Jobs An Apology

I have a great deal of respect for the journalistic principles that Wikileaks espouses, but the site has done itself and journalism a disservice: It has published images that purport to show part of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' medical file, one of which is acknowledged to be fake and the other of which is deemed suspect.

I have a great deal of respect for the journalistic principles that Wikileaks espouses, but the site has done itself and journalism a disservice: It has published images that purport to show part of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' medical file, one of which is acknowledged to be fake and the other of which is deemed suspect.The photos, one of which includes what looks to be Jobs' signature, purport to reveal that he's HIV positive.

The Wikileaks summary points to a variety of the problems with the photos, which have supposedly been circulating on the Internet and on CNN's iReport, the user-generated news site responsible for promoting a fake story about Jobs suffering a heart attack.

"Due to the contradictory dates, visual evidence of forgery, strong motivations for fabrication, and few motivations for a legitimate revelation, the images should not be taken at face value," the summary concludes.

If that's the case, what possible reason does Wikileaks have for publishing them, particularly after acknowledging that the photos are probably an attempt to influence Apple's stock price?

(I asked an SEC spokesperson whether the regulatory agency has been investigating the potential relationship between rumors such as this one and attempts to short sell Apple stock, but the spokesperson declined to comment.)

Journalists don't always get all the facts right. No one does. But surely there's some minimum standard at Wikileaks for accepting documents and posting them. Posting such obvious fakes borders on malice.

A simple search for Jobs' signature -- possibly seen here or here -- should've been enough to convince Wikileaks that the signature in the first image wasn't written by Steve Jobs.

And really, claims as significant as those made by these two forged photos demand more thorough fact checking.

There's enough misinformation online already; Wikileaks shouldn't be spreading more of it.

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