Why the Associated Press (AP) sucks u-know-wot

If you follow any blogs at all (and I sincerely hope this isn’t your only source of news), you’ll know that the Associated Press have gotten litigious of late (see these search results for a taste).  That’s enough to make them suck in my book.

But aside from that, I increasingly believe they are sucktastic for the simple reason that they are very very poor journalists. Their fact checking is atrocious and getting worse.

I was reading an article published today by GMA News that Google Alerts sent my way. Not sure I’d ever heard of the site before, but the article is riddled with inaccuracies. But lo and behold, it’s not a GMA article at all, it’s regurgitated newsy goodness from our charmingly journalistic friends at AP.

Let me give you some examples:

“As 2010 draws nearer, techies can expect a key year for communication technology with Apple set to launch a new iPhone, Microsoft to launch its Microsoft Mobile 7, and there’s the Google Android 2 on the way.”

Hmm.  Could have sworn there was a tiny, almost unpublicized launch of a new phone from Motorola that may (and I say “may” because I don’t have the army of fact checkers and proper journalists at the AP’s disposal) have been running Android 2.0.

But that’s just the beginning (literally, it’s the opening line).

Launched in China in October 2009, the Apple iPhone 3GS is now conquering the world’s most populous mobile phone market and is set for a great start to 2010.

Conquering?  Not really.  It’s starting to tick up but many folks agreed that the launch was pretty disappointing (see this article for an example).  But hey, we’re only on the second paragraph…

Let’s press on (I hope you enjoyed that pun)…

The iPhone is not without market rivals. Most notably, Google Android is now offering a competitive operating system, with key applications and gadgets. This will be expanded in 2010, with the launch of Android 2.0, also known as Eclair.

As well as being Bluetooth-capable, the new version will include the option to have multiple accounts on one device, a search function for saved text messages and multi-touch support for the virtual keyboard.

Hmm.  I have a first gen G1 running Android.  Certainly has a Bluetooth setting — maybe it’s virtual bluetooth?

And one of my favorite lines:

Microsoft Mobile, which will launch its Mobile 7 platform next year is another growing contender.

Wow.  Maybe they live in a bunker where the original PalmOS is still the bees knees and Windows 95 is a rock solid 32-bit OS.  If you know anything about the mobile market, you know that sentence is missing the words “for a rapid death”.  According to Gartner, Windows Mobile lost 28 percent marketshare between Q3 2008 and Q3 2009 (or so say these guys).

Luke Peters, deputy editor of T3 Magazine says that lots of phone companies will be aiming for increased processing speed in 2010.

I know nothing about Luke Peters, and wish him no ill-will, but I hope he is smarter than this quote makes him sound.

A very popular application is Google Maps, which users can easily access on their mobile phones to find out their exact location. But it goes further than that, with the latest applications offering extra information which is directly linked to where you are.

Luke Peters refers to this concept as augmented reality.

Hmm.  Okay, maybe he’s not.

“Augmented reality is an idea that came around really in the start of 2009 and allows, now that you can track wherever your phone is, whether it’s an iPhone 3G or a Google Android phone, it means that companies can layer information over realtime video to show you exactly what’s happening in your surroundings,” Peters says.

Oh sweet Jesus help me.  Phones with GPS’s — crazy idea.  Not as though they’ve been around for a while.  RIM, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and a few hundred million shipped products might disagree, but what would they know.  And for the love…  could we not spend just a moment in Wikipedia or some other fact source??? AR new in 2009?  “The term augmented reality is believed to have been coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, an employee of Boeing at the time” .  Oh, and the iPhone 3G that this guy is so in love with won’t run AR applications, you need a 3Gs.

Matthew Bath confirms that the emphasis is really on software next year. “Again 2010 is a story of software,” Bath says. “You’re going to see a big rise in downloadable stores that enable you to download software to totally customize your mobile phone, whether that’s finding out where you’ve parked your car to scanning barcodes in your local supermarket.”

Hmm.  I’ve heard of this.  It’s called an application something or other.  App Store?  Sounds wacky.  Although Bath reckons the store is downloadable, so maybe it’s an augmented reality Walmart to go in your pocket?


Now this article happens to be on a topic I know something about, so it’s easy for me to poke holes. And perhaps the AP has some good reasons to quote people that don’t understand the topic they are talking about.  But part of the reason the AP is so incensed by all these damn bloggers and their pesky blogosphere is that they claim to be “real journalists” where as we are all just factless parasites who don’t do our jobs properly.

The fact checking is so craptastically far off, it makes me wonder about all the AP stuff I read that I don’t know much about.  Is it all as craply checked as this?

Just wondering…