TechCrunch rant about ‘CNN’ Phelps ‘spoiler’ on Twitter goes haywire

One of the great things about an RSS client is that once it grabs a published article, it hangs on to it. If you make changes later, the first thing you published will disappear from your site, but not my client if it passed by before the change. If you change the title of a post, I end up with two copies of the article.

This actually happens fairly frequently; usually it’s some minor thing like a misspelled word or fixing an awkwardly-written headline. Pre-publication editing is a not a strong suit of many blogs, especially the technology blogs out on the west coast.

So this morning I started browsing RSS feeds and came across two versions of a TechCrunch article. The first was titled “CNN Fails To Include Spoiler Alert in Tweets, Ruins Olympics”. The second carried the headline “CNN Doesn’t Include Spoiler Alerts in Tweets, Twitter Users Say It Ruined Olympics“.

Yeah, that looked like a fun change to examine.

After publication of the original article, a flood of users (rightly) defended the notion that breaking news waits for no network and no tape delay, and TechCrunch writer Jason Kincaid quickly jumped in to say he agrees with that and was being sarcastic in writing about the Twitter complaints. Likely? Let’s examine the before and after.

Just in case things change again, I’m including screen grabs of the story in my RSS reader and what’s on TechCrunch now.


Apologies for the smallness of the type there. But the critical elements are:

- Headline with the “Fails” and “Ruins” elements
- “Too bad CNN already spoiled the results”
- “CNN has unfortunately failed to account for this”
- “CNN has shown little remorse”
- “For shame, CNN. For shame.”

Also notice the item from MSNBC published right before the TechCrunch one – “Phelps wins record 8th gold”. I should write about RSS ruining the Olympics.


Kincaid says he was being sarcastic in the original post and the readers just didn’t get it. I think that argument falls apart upon reading of the original version, and especially falls apart when you consider the following:

- The Twitter account Kincaid wrote about does not actually belong to CNN. He did not realize that.
- The Phelps event was only tape-delayed by NBC in the western U.S.; it was shown live in the east. Kincaid doesn’t seem to understand that.

I’m not giving somebody the benefit of the doubt that he was writing poorly-received sarcasm when he can’t even get basic facts straight. No, I think this was a case of blind excitement over being able to weave Twitter into the Phelps story (or is that vice-versa with TechCrunch?) getting in the way of stopping to think for a second.


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2 Responses to “TechCrunch rant about ‘CNN’ Phelps ‘spoiler’ on Twitter goes haywire”

  1. I thought people would realize it was sarcasm from the reference to the almighty tape delay and the over-the-top headline (and frankly, the idea that CNN might be in the wrong here). They didn’t, so I edited the post.

  2. [...] a somewhat unrelated note, I found it interesting that TechCrunch’s Kincaid “revised” his post after his original headline and wording was [...]

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