The story had a compelling hook. A Harvard Business School professor got in an email battle over the price of food with the owner of a Chinese restaurant. Powerful professor picks on struggling small business owner! It’s on!
The story quickly went viral. Soon, reporters were flooding the zone with red meat for the torches and pitchforks outrage. Find out how much the professor paid for his house! Reporters ordered food from the restaurant and tweeted photos of it. The reporter who wrote the original story sold T-shirts making fun of the professor.
But even as the viral attention was rolling in, the story blew up in their face. The reporter wrote a followup claiming the professor sent a racist email to the restaurateur. The story was easily refuted within minutes of publication.
Just another scandal for Gawker. It was kind of known for them. Except it wasn’t Gawker. It was a venerable news organization, The Boston Globe, whose reporting was soon to be lionized in the Oscar-winning...