Some less-than-convincing 007 journalism

"What's the matter, James? You sound skeptical!"

“What’s the matter, James? You sound skeptical!”

There has been some less-than-convincing journalism recently concerning Agent 007. A few examples caught our eye:

We Got This Covered, Jan. 12: The entertainment Web site had A STORY with this headline: “All Six James Bonds May Be On Stage At Oscars.”

The evidence?

Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, and Timothy Dalton have reportedly agreed, making Sean Connery the lone hold-out. An Oscars source said he is hopeful that Connery will join the other five. Check out that comment below. (emphasis added)

“Sir Sean has been invited to take to the stage along with Daniel and the other 007s. As yet, we’ve not had a no from him. Normally he is quick to turn things down…

First “reportedly” translates roughly to “we don’t know this ourselves and we don’t want to credit those who have reported it.” Also, Connery hasn’t said no? Wake us up when he actually says yes.

Vanity Fair, Jan. 24: The magazine’s Web site had THIS STORY about the prospect of all six film 007s appearing at the Oscars. An excerpt:

A day after it was announced that Adele would perform her Oscar-nominated James Bond theme song, “Skyfall,” for the first time live at next month’s Academy Awards, a rumor is circulating the Interweb that the Academy will further pad the James Bond portion of the February 24 program. Producers have already revealed that the show, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, will feature a 50th-anniversary tribute to the iconic British spy, most likely a montage celebrating the franchise’s 23 films. A new report, however, speculates that all six of the actors who have played Bond over the years—Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig—will unite for the first time ever at the Oscars as further tribute to the Ian Fleming character.

A rumor? On the Internet? Vanity Fair presents a link to THIS STORY from the Independent that says, well, there’s a rumor.

Geek Tyrant, Jan. 24: The Web site had THIS STORY that proclaimed it had been CONFIRMED the six Bond film actors would appear. Its evidence? A link to the same story in the Independent that Vanity Fair linked that said, well, there’s a rumor it will happen., Jan. 24: The radio station’s Web site has THIS STORY with this excerpt:

Yesterday we brought you the news that Adele will be appearing at the 2013 Oscars to perform the Best Original Song nominated “Skyfall.” But now there’s even bigger James Bond news to share: it’s looking like every actor who has portrayed the classic character are set to appear on stage together for the first time ever to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of James Bond. This calls for a martini!

Now before we get too excited, we must remember that this is not confirmed as of yet, but it’s a rumor that has been floating and the Adele news supports it. Can’t you just picture the singer’s luscious voice ushering the Bonds on stage as the crowd loses its collective mind? (emphasis added)

Before we get too excited, let us know when you have actual information you’re willing to stand behind., Jan. 22: The financial magazine’s Web site had THIS STORY that proclaimed, “`Skyfall’ Becomes Tenth Highest-Grossing Film of All Time.” One problem: there are no actual figures to back this up.

The exact box office totals are not yet officially tabulated, but they will place Bond’s current receipts at somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.045 billion. Yesterday, Skyfall opened in China to enormous numbers, and it should finish its run as the seventh highest-grossing movie in history, bumping The Dark Knight Rises down to number eight on the all-time list.

At the time this was posted, there was exactly one day of Skyfall box office sales data in China available ($5.1 million). The author didn’t know he was estimating. Maybe he was right, but he had no actual hard data to back it up. The movie has had better-than-expected ticket sales and, as of the start of the week, was knocking on the top 10 in ticket sales unadjusted for inflation. But this reads more like an exercise in getting people to click than actual journalism.

During Skyfall’s production there were a number of stories from various sources (including U.K. tabloid newspapers) that TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE. These stories varied in how transparent the outlets obtained their information. Some had solid records in reporting scoops ahead of official press releases.

The examples cited above didn’t appear to even check things out. Instead, they were content to repeat rumors or guess.