Thursday, June 02, 2005

Virus Alert! Osama bin Laden’s Still at Large, But Your Computer May Not Be For Long

Like many a worthy and eager (and, okay, zealous… perhaps overzealous… but don’t push it, ‘kay?) journalist before me, I published information about a rumor earlier today.

Here’s the original story:
I can't confirm this story as I'm in a television-less environment, but I've received word that CNN is at this moment reporting that al Qaeda leader and reputed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden has been captured.

What will this mean for the war on terrorism?

What will this mean for the world?

In any event, this is -- assuming the news is accurate -- a moment to celebrate for the civilized world.

Everyone at my organization was sent an e-mail that said the following:

Turn on your TV. Osama Bin Laden has been captured. While CNN has no pictures at this point of time, the military channel (PPV) released some. I managed to capture a couple of these pictures off my TV. Ive attached a slideshow containing all the pictures I managed to capture. I apologize for the low quality, its the best I could do at this point of time. Hopefully CNN will have pictures and a video soon. God bless the USA!

Now, if I had read the middle of the paragraph carefully – the bit about the attached slideshow – alarm bells would have likely gone off in my mind’s Mission Control Center (or Bureau of Bullshit Detection, if you like).

However, in the frenzied race that is online news (and chat and criticism and analysis), I raced forward to print the rumors. Thankfully, I couched the rumors heavily as such, but it now seems obvious to this sheepish writer that this was merely a somewhat clever tact to get people to open up some kind of god-forsaken virus.

So if anything, I hope this little minor episode will remind people to not believe everything you read (particularly in e-mails and on the Internet!) and to never, EVER open attachments that you are in the least suspicious about.

At least I didn’t do that.


Thanks all.

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