If a man tells you he owns gold mines, you’re first instinct is to automatically believe him, right?
Maybe not, but that’s essentially what many media contributors such as ESPN LA reporter Ramona Shelbourne did back in January without taking time to verify the facts when fraudulent non-millionaire Josh Macciello said he would raise billions of dollars to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reportedly, Macciello falsely claimed to own gold mines and to be extremely wealthy.
Shelbourne wasn’t the only one who swallowed the hoax story line as ESPN talkshow host Steve Mason and Patch blogger Mike Szymanski also backed the story.
It was not until LA Weekly’s Gene Maddaus investigated Macciello that the truth was discovered and Macciello was outed as a fraud. Not only does Macciello not own gold mines, but he has been arrested and charged for possessing 3,000 Vicodin.
What does this story say about reporters in the Internet age? Why do some people take certain facts for granted?
Gene Maddaus, the author of the LA Weekly article exposing Josh Macciello